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. Marital harmony can be a challenge. Did we marry the wrong person? Pastor Greg Laurie wonders, did your spouse marry the wrong person? A successful marriage is not so much finding the right person as much as it is being the right person. Stop blaming your mate and be the best husband you can be. Stop blaming him and be the best wife that you can be.
Stop reading each other's mail and just do what God tells you to do and you'll be amazed at what will happen. Certain things can upset marital equilibrium. The thermostat is too hot or too cold. The toilet paper roll was replaced incorrectly or not replaced at all. The TV remote control is missing again.
The car was parked without enough gas to make it back to the gas station. Those things never happen to you? Oh, you must be single. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues his Christian family series with five biblical principles toward a successful marriage. I heard a story about a husband and wife that were celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary. So the husband got in front of friends and family and said, oh man, I love this woman so much. And he said to her, dear, because you've given me 25 years of wedded bliss, I'm taking you to China. Oh, she was so excited. China, she says.
I've always wanted to go to China. Then she said, if you're doing that for our 25th wedding anniversary, I can't wait to see what you'll do for our 50th wedding anniversary. And the husband said, well, that's when I'll pick you up. Maybe that's why one person said marriage is like a three ring circus, engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.
Does it really have to be that way? Oscar Wilde was quoted to say, the world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life end quote. How about this statement from one of the wealthiest men who ever lived, J. Paul Getty, who was married many times. He said, quote, I would give my entire fortune for one happy marriage. One happy marriage.
That's all he wanted. Is it even possible? Can a woman and a man fall in love and get married and live happily ever after? Well, that's what the fairy tales tell us.
But life doesn't back that up now, does it? Because we look at the divorce rate in our country today. It's roughly at 50%. And then if you get married for a second time, the divorce rate jumps up to 60%. And then if you go for a third marriage, it rises even higher to 73%. Yeah, fairy tales usually end with the words happily ever after. But maybe we should change it to say happily even after.
Let's be realistic. It can be a happy marriage. It can be a strong marriage. 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 then 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 and made manifest by the light.
Whatever makes manifest is light. 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. Then 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 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. It is not unlike your relationship with God. If you neglect the study of Scripture. If you neglect being a part of church. If you neglect your prayer life it is going to affect you spiritually. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not even a week from now. But in time you will see the effects. The same is true of marriage. So wake up to that fact.
Number three. Walk carefully. Walk carefully. Look at verse 15.
See then that you walk circumspectly. It is an interesting word. It carries the basic meaning of that which is accurate and exact. It conveys the idea of looking, examining, and investigating something with great care. Sort of like the kind of attention you would give before signing a contract.
You want to be very careful before you put your John Hancock as they say on that contract and initial all those little things that they highlighted because the devil may be in the details you see. So in the same way I look at this very carefully and I am going to pay attention to detail and I am going to make sure I have done everything I can do. Not so much worrying about what my spouse is doing or is not doing. Am I doing my part? Because again I want to emphasize we need to strike this word divorce from our vocabularies.
Someone once asked Ruth Graham, the wife of Billy Graham, if she had ever considered divorcing Billy and she said, I have never once considered divorcing him. Murdering him? Yes.
Divorcing him? No. That was meant humorously of course. Don't get any ideas.
What carefully conveys the idea of alertness. You know sometimes people say, oh they have a marriage made in heaven. What do you think good marriages happen randomly? Oh does that mean others have a marriage made in hell? No. If you see a marriage that looks like it was made in heaven it is because those people have applied themselves.
Number four. Use your time wisely. Use your time wisely.
Verse 16. Redeeming the time for the days are evil. Redeem means make the most of your time. Or make use of every opportunity.
Take the time to strengthen your marriage. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's a joy to hear when these studies have truly impacted lives. Listen to these comments from one of our listeners. Pastor Greg your messages mean so much to me. They inspire, convict, and uplift all at the same time. In 1996 I did a 180 in my life and followed who I knew to be God all along.
I just had never listened to his voice before. My life and my choices before that were a mess. When I asked Christ into my heart God picked me up, dusted me off, and turned me around. My life, my coping skills, and my new choice of friends have changed dramatically. As my conviction grew I decided to rededicate myself to God in 2019. Your messages have really lifted me to a higher level on my road and growth in Christ and I thank you from your sister in Christ.
How have these studies and God's word touched your life? If you have a story to share why not call us and tell us about it. Call 866-871-1144. That's 866-871-1144. Well we continue now with Pastor Greg's practical marital counsel in today's study Home Sweet Home.
Number five. To have a successful marriage you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. To have a successful marriage you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Look at verse 18. Don't be drunk with wine in which is dissipation but be filled with the Spirit. By the way in the Greek that is a command.
To not be filled with this power is to cut off your power supply. Years ago we had a work day here at the church so we were painting and trimming hedges and doing all sorts of things. And I am really bad with tools of any kind. You know I mentioned my mom was married and divorced. I never had a dad go over the basics with me like how to tie a tie. How to build something. So I have this big huge deficiency in that area. If my wife sees me walk into the house with a hammer she is alarmed. I like hardware stores. I love all the cool tools.
I am just not very good with them. That is all. So we are out here at this work day at church and there at the hedge was a hedge trimmer you know. And I thought oh cool you know it was plugged in the wall. So I fired it up. And I am trimming the top of the hedge. This is fun.
I like this. And I wasn't really paying attention and I kept moving that thing. It is cutting across the edge. And it came right through the door. It just stops. And I looked over to the right and I looked to the left and I just walked off.
I just left. What kind of a man is this? It is a kind of a man who just cut his power supply off. That is what it is. And you don't want to do that. You need the power of the Spirit. I don't know what you think of when you think of being filled with the Spirit. I think sometimes people imagine it should be an emotional experience.
Right. And it can be. And sometimes it is. But not always. You might think oh to be filled with the Spirit means you are going to jump up and down or you are going to scream really loud.
Well really God's power and God's filling is a practical power. It is not so you can jump high. It is so you can walk straight. It is sort of like a fire hose. If they lose control of it it can be dangerous. It could kill someone. But if they grab hold of that fire hose and direct the stream of the water in the right direction they can put out a fire.
They can see the lives of people. So God gives us His power not to just throw off with no purpose but to do what He has called us to do. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. And by the way this is an interesting little twist where it says be filled with the Spirit. Because in the original language we find that the last clause in the long previous sentence is submitting one to another in the fear of God. So in other words here is how the verse should go. Be filled with the Spirit speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord submitting one to another in the fear of God.
This is very important. Because sometimes wives choke on the verse that says, wives submit unto your husbands is unto the Lord. You might say, I don't want to submit to my husband or anybody else.
Wait a second. Before God tells wives to submit to their husbands, before God tells husbands to love their wives, God says to husbands and wives submit to one another in the fear or the reverence of God. If you are a spirit-filled person you will be a submitting person. Now maybe you think of subservience and slavery. But that is not what submission is in the Bible. Let me put it another way.
If you are really filled with the Spirit you will think of others over yourself. In military language it means to rank beneath or rank under. There is order of ranking in the military and police officers and so forth. And you can outrank a person. So the idea is you put yourself under that person.
You want to hold them up. You want to support them. This is not about superiority or inferiority. It is about sacrifice.
It is about obedience. It is not about you. It is about your mate.
Listen. A successful marriage is not so much finding the right person as much as it is being the right person. Stop blaming your mate and be the best husband you can be.
Stop blaming him and be the best wife that you can be. Stop reading each other's mail and just do what God tells you to do. It drives me crazy when I hear wives quote verses about being a good husband to the man and the man quotes the verses. Read your own stinking verses. And do what God tells you to do.
And you will be amazed at what will happen. I shouldn't say stinking verses. I retract that statement. There is no stinking verses in the Bible. But you get what I was trying to say by that. So we want to be filled with the Holy Spirit. But what does that mean specifically? It is interesting.
There are three word pictures given to convey the idea of what the Bible is saying. One way that this phrase filled is used is wind filling a sail. Carrying it along. If any of you like to sail you know how wonderful it is when you turn off the engine you catch that gust of wind and you are just cruising along.
It is fantastic. It makes life so much easier doesn't it? And the same is true of marriage.
You can try to do it on your own. Do it in your own strength. But man just let the Holy Spirit fill your sails and help you to do what God has called you to do. It also conveys the idea of permeation.
Back in the first century they would take salt and rub it into meat to preserve it before refrigeration. So the idea of being conveyed is let the Holy Spirit permeate your life. You rub it in deeply. Let the Holy Spirit be deeply embedded inside of you. Affecting you in what you say and what you think and what you do.
And finally it conveys the idea of total control. Paul compares the filling of the Spirit to drunkenness. Don't be drunk with wine wherein is excess but be being filled with the Holy Spirit. In other words don't be under the control of the spirits. Be under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Let Him have control of your life. So put it all together. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? It means that you are carried along and permeated by and under the control of Jesus Christ. To fill yourself with God's Word so His thoughts become your thoughts, His standards, your standards, His will, your will. To be filled with the Spirit is walking thought by thought, decision by decision, act by act under the Holy Spirit's control. This is true of the Christian life too. Now we can try so hard to not do this and not do that.
Listen to this. Galatians 5 says if we sow to the Spirit we will reap life everlasting. If we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption. So we are told walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
So if you so if you focus on the positive it will help you deal with the negative. So I am saying I want to be filled with the Spirit, under the control of the Spirit, living by the counsel of Scripture. Then the other things will all sort themselves out. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. We can't do this on our own. We need the Holy Spirit's power to be the husbands God has called us to be. We need the Holy Spirit's power for you girls to be the wives that God has called you to be. We need the Holy Spirit's power to be the parents God has called us to be.
We need His help. And singles need the Holy Spirit's power to be the single God has called you to be. Let me just close with this one thought. And when I say one thought that is a preacher's way of saying I am going to go for 20 more minutes. No I am not.
I am almost done actually. But of all the pictures that God could have chosen to show His love for the world He chose marriage. Husbands are told love your wife as Christ loves the church. Wives submissive to your husbands is unto the Lord.
So here is what the Lord is saying. Hey world. Hey secular culture. You want to know how much I love my people? Check out the way that Christian husband loves his wife. Hey nonbelievers.
You want to see how much my people love me? Check out the way that Christian wife loves her husband. Can't you see how bad it is now when Christians get a divorce. How it so devastates our witness. We are telling these people how to live. We are telling them how to be changed by Jesus. And we can't work out our problems in our own marriages.
It should not be so. God has chosen the marriage as a representation to a lost world. And therefore when you have a strong marriage you are a powerful witness. But again I want to emphasize that how did God show His love. He showed it by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us. Talk is cheap.
Words are easy to say. God put His own Son on the cross to die in our place to show how much He loves each and every one of us. And I ask you in closing. Married or single.
Forget about that for a moment. Do you know God? What if this was your last day on earth? Is your life in order? Are you ready to meet God? If not you can come into a relationship with Him right now and be forgiven of all of your sin.
And all of us need that. Jesus who died on the cross in your place of mine and absorbed God's wrath in our place rose again from the dead and now He stands at the door of our life and He knocks and says if we will hear His voice and open the door He will come in. Have you ever asked Jesus Christ to come into your life? Do you know right now with certainty that you will go to heaven when you die? If not would you like to know Christ in a personal way? Would you like your sin forgiven?
Would you like a second chance in life? We are going to close now with a prayer and I am going to give you an opportunity to get right with God if you need to. Let's all bow our heads if you would please. Father thank you for your word to us. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for us. And now we pray for any person here who does not yet know you. Lord help them to see their need for Jesus. Help them to come to you and believe we pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer. And if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Well Pastor Greg your new movie called Jesus Revolution is coming out in just a few weeks, the third week of February.
That's right. What do you think will surprise people the most when they see Jesus Revolution? Okay I think they're going to be surprised at how gritty and realistic it is. We don't pull our punches. We show the emptiness of bad choices including drugs.
We show the search of a generation. Number two, I think they'll be surprised at how funny the film is at times. It's huge laughs in certain moments of the film.
Very enjoyable. I think they'll be moved very emotionally. I think they'll shed a tear or two when they watch certain scenes from this film. But then the last thing I would say is they'll be surprised at how much gospel is in it. Like how the gospel is there in the story and there's even a moment where Greg and this hippie evangelist named Lonnie Frisbee pray together. And I believe when that scene is played in the theaters that there will be people praying that prayer along with Greg. So there's a lot of twists and turns in this film that surprise people.
But I've had so many people say they just loved it. And John Irwin who's made many incredible films, Woodlawn, American Underdog, I Still Believe, I Can Only Imagine says hands down this is the best film I've ever made. It's the most important film I've ever made. Every film I've made has been leading to this film.
So I really think you need to get out there and see this film in the theater. And you know what? Take someone with you. It's a great shared experience with someone you care about. Take someone with you that does not yet know the Lord.
I think you could have an incredible conversation after and you might even find that person open to giving their life to Jesus. Yeah, that's right. And what a great thing that would be. Well, mark the date. February 24th is the official release of Jesus Revolution nationwide. Begin making plans now to bring someone with you to see this film. It's a moving evangelistic story wrapped in a great motion picture. And you know, that's what we're all about.
Sharing the hope of Christ with those who need that hope. Thanks for partnering with us as we share the gospel in this innovative way. You partner with us as you support the film at your local theater. And you partner with us when you send a donation to support sharing the gospel. In fact, to thank you for your generosity right now, we want to send you the book that tells the story in more detail.
It's also called Jesus Revolution. We'll send the book to thank you for your investment. So get in touch today. Our 24-7 phone number is 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514.
Or go online to Harvest.org. And then Pastor Greg, just before we go, would you mind praying with the person listening who wants to make a change today in their relationship with the Lord? I'd be happy to, Dave. You know, as you've been listening to this today, maybe you've heard another voice. By that I mean, yeah, you've heard me say a few things, but you heard God's voice speak to you, deep in the recesses of your heart. And it suddenly dawned on you, this is what I need. Or to state it more accurately, this is who I need. I need Jesus, and I want Jesus.
But maybe you don't know how to make that connection. Let me help you. Pray this after me right now if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. And I am sorry for my sin. And I need your forgiveness right now. Would you come into my heart, my life, as Savior, as God, as friend?
I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for calling me, and accepting me, and forgiving me. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. I know that was a relatively short prayer. Maybe you felt something as you prayed it. Maybe you felt nothing.
That doesn't really matter. Because God's word says, these things we write to you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. It doesn't say, so you may think you have it, or you may hope you have it if God's in a good mood.
No, that you can know it. And I want you to know, if you prayed that prayer, if you prayed that prayer and meant it, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come into your life. So congratulations. You're now a Christian. Now continue to follow the Lord. And to help you as you follow the Lord, we'd like to send you some materials we call our New Believers Growth Packet.
It'll answer many of the questions you might have, and get you started off right in your new relationship with the Lord. So get in touch and ask for it. We'll send it free of charge. Call us at our 24-hour phone number, 1-800-821-3300.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Or drop us a note at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or go to harvest.org and click on Know God. Well, next time, as Pastor Greg continues the series of most requested studies of the past year, he offers practical insights from the Old Testament account of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Warren. 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.
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