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. You mean if I just stand up in front of a few other human beings, you're going to stand up for me in heaven? That's right.
What a deal! When you see thousands of enthusiastic sports fans at a stadium, do they keep their team loyalty a secret? No. They yell and scream and wear their team colors.
Sometimes those colors are painted on their faces, and it's just a game. Do we have that same overt pride in following Christ? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see the importance of making our faith a public declaration. If our faith is a big secret, the question is why.
This is the day, the day when life begins. And Nehemiah knew if the walls were burned down once, they could be burned down twice. So let's backtrack a little bit. Then we'll kind of get to the conclusion.
But let's pick up chronologically where we left off last time. You remember Nehemiah returns. They rebuild the walls. Ezra is brought out of mothballs. He led the first wave of Jews. They're turning to Babylon. He helped to rebuild the temple.
He had been largely inactive. They bring him out again. He reads Scripture to the people for three hours. Then they confess their sins to God for three hours. And there's this great revival that breaks out. And now the people make a series of very significant commitments to the Lord. And that's where we pick up. We're in Nehemiah 10.
Point number one if you're taking notes. They surrendered to the Word of God. Then the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who had separated themselves from the pagan people of the land in order to obey the law of God together with their wives, sons, daughters, and all who were old enough to understand. They swore an oath. They bound themselves with an oath. And they swore a curse on themselves if they failed to obey the law of God as issued by His servant Moses.
They solemnly promised to carefully follow all the commands, regulations, and decrees of the Lord our God. We'll stop there. So this is serious.
Now there's siding on the dotted line. You know, you can go look at a car all you want. I love this car. I might buy this car.
I want to get this car. And one day you say, I'm going for it. So you go in and you say, I'm ready to buy the car.
And they bring out hundreds of sheets of paper that you have to sign, sign, sign, sign, sign, and sign. And then they give you the keys to your new car and you get in it and you drive it off the lot and it drops in value by $3,000 before you even got your first tank of gas, right? Or you sign on the dotted line and say, I'm going to buy this home. I'm committing myself to purchase this property. Now you must keep the commitment you've made.
That's what they were doing here. The same is true when you stand in front of a pastor and before your friends and family and state your vows to your husband or your wife to be. You're making a commitment publicly. And that's why I think it's such a great thing to make a public stand for Jesus Christ.
You sort of seal the deal. When you're baptized that's a public commitment. People can see it. They should see it.
When you make that first stand in front of your non-believing friends at your workplace or on your campus and you say, I am a Christian. And you know they're going to be watching you like hawks. Why? Because they want you to do well?
No. Because they want you to do really badly so they can say, ah, hypocrite, right? They don't want you to do well because when you walk closely with the Lord and they see the transformation in your character it drives them insane because they come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
I love public profession. Have you made a public profession of your faith? Does your family know you're a Christian? All your family?
Your extended family? Do people in your neighborhood know you're a Christian? Do people in your workplace know you're a Christian? Do people on your campus know you're a Christian?
Do people that follow you on social media know that you are a Christian? Make your stand for Christ publicly because Jesus said, if you'll stand up for me I'll stand up for you. If you'll confess me before people. If you'll confess me before people Jesus says, I'll confess you before the Father and the angels in heaven.
What a deal. You mean if I just stand up in front of a few other human beings you're going to stand up for me in heaven? That's right. Okay. I'm all in. Okay.
So you make your public stand. I have a little granddaughter named Allie and she was at school the other day at lunch time. And so the kids are all eating their little lunches you know. And Allie says, wait everybody. We need to pray and thank Jesus for our food.
They're all like, what planet are you from kid? I love that. Allie told me that story.
I said, Allie very good. You made your public stand for Jesus. And that's a great thing for all of us to keep in mind. And so we make that stand. And we stand by that stand that we have made. Now often we'll say we believe the Bible. We'll say we love the Bible. And we will quote the Bible. But will we surrender to what the Bible says? This is the big question. Don't just quote it to me.
Don't just say how much you love it. Will you surrender to what the Bible says? Let me restate it. Will you surrender to what the Bible says on every single topic?
I used to have a little plaque years ago that said God said it. I believe it. That settles it. Does that sum up the way you feel? We'll come back to that point in a moment.
Point number two. They separated themselves from ungodly influences. They separated themselves from ungodly influences. Look at verse 28. Then the rest of the people, the priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants, and all who had separated themselves from the pagan people of the land in order to obey the law of the Lord. We promise to not let our daughters marry the pagan people of the land and not let our sons marry their daughters.
Note the cause and effect. They separated in order to obey. Look at it again. They had separated themselves from the pagan people in order to obey the law of the Lord. Listen to this. If you want to live a godly life you will need to separate yourself from some things and some people and in exchange surround yourself with other things and other people.
Someone sums it up perfectly. It says blessed is a man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly or stands in the way of sinners or sits in the seat of the scornful. Notice the words that are used. First this guy is walking. Then he is standing. Then he is sitting.
First he is walking in the counsel of the ungodly standing in the way of sinners sitting in the seat of the scornful. Sort of like let's say you are on a diet. So you have to walk every day. Good walk. So you decide to walk right by your favorite donut shop just when they are making the donuts fresh in the morning.
Mistake. But you do it. And you are walking by. I am walking.
I am getting exercise. And you look in the window. First you are walking. Now you are standing. Next thing you know you are sitting.
Not just at a table. You are in the vat of raw donut dough. Right. You can't wait. That is how sin works. It is a progression.
So don't do that. If you want to be a blessed man, a blessed woman, or change the word blessed with happy because it is an interchangeable word. Happy is a man that doesn't walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the way of sinners, sit in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord. In it does he meditate day and night.
Let me paraphrase it. He loves to read the Bible. He loves to hear the Bible preached.
He loves to hear songs that have verses from the Bible in them. He loves the Word of God and he meditates which means he thinks about it. He ponders it.
He considers it day and night. So you had to separate from one thing and join yourself to another. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It is so encouraging when we hear that listeners are growing by hearing these studies. Hi Pastor Greg. Thank you for your ministry and commitment to share the gospel with others. My wife and I have listened to you on the radio for over 10 years and I download your messages through the Harvest app weekly. We've been Harvest partners for about a year now and are so thankful we can share in your ministry. I love that you give an invitation to accept Jesus at the end of your messages. I'm so thankful that many people come to us saving faith each week. God bless you and your family. It's a privilege to bring these studies your way and we're thankful for our Harvest partners who make them possible. Would you consider partnering with us so they can continue? Make a donation online at harvest.org.
That's harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is presenting one of the most requested studies of the past year. A message called This is Not a Drill. Let's continue now. A word to you who are single. Quick poll.
How many of you are not married? Raise your hand up. Raise your hand up.
Ok. Quite a few of you guys. Here is what I want to say to you. Don't even think about marrying a nonbeliever. Ok. Trust me on this. Even better trust the Word of God on this. You don't want to go there.
Well you know maybe I will lead them to the Lord. Ok. Maybe you will. Maybe you won't.
And chances are you won't. I will explain that in a moment. But if you are a single person you want to look for a godly person.
So maybe you are going up with someone right now and I would ask you, well are they a Christian? Yeah. They say God a lot. Really? Let me re-state it. Look for someone that is even more godly than you.
And less so. Well there is no question that they are a follower of Jesus Christ. Listen. The three most important decisions that you are going to make in your life are. Number one. What are you going to do with Jesus Christ? Number two. What are you going to do with your life? And number three.
Who are you going to marry? Three most important decisions. Number one. What are you going to do with Jesus Christ? Are you going to accept him or reject him?
Are you going to follow him or not follow him? Number two. What are you going to do with your life? What course will your life take?
Take thirdly, who will you marry? You can get number one right and mess up two and three and have a really miserable life. Believe in Jesus, but then go marry a non-believer or believe in Jesus and make a bunch of bad choices in your life.
You need to get all three of these right. The problem with the Israelites is they had a constant problem with this. They kept getting pulled down by ungodly people. They would intermarry with pagan people and end up doing pagan things, you see?
And that's usually what happens when believers marry non-believers. See, the problem is generally the believer does not pull the non-believer up, but rather the non-believer pulls the believer down. I could illustrate right now. I could pick someone out here in the front row, someone much smaller than me, and I could say, I'm gonna pull you on the platform. And I would take hold of your arm with my considerable strength. I might be able to pull you right up here on the stage. But the chances are, even though you're much smaller than me and way less than I do, you could probably pull me off the stage more easily than I could pull you on the stage even if I were stronger than you.
Why? You have the pull of gravity working for you. So in the same way, when I'm with a non-believer, it's easier for me to go their way than it is for them to come my way. The only way they're gonna come my way is if they're born again, if they want Jesus. But the way I could go their way is I still have an old nature. I'm still potentially drawn to sinful things.
So this is where the problem begins. And this is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6, 14, don't be unequally yoked together with non-believers, for what fellowship does light have with darkness or righteousness with unrighteousness? Are you gonna eat at the table of the Lord and also at the table of the devil?
Another translation puts it this way, and I like this translation. Don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That's not partnership, that's war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands?
Who would even think of setting the pagan idols and God's holy temple? See, when you combine certain things, problems can ensue. You can take nitro and you can add glycerin and you have an explosion.
In the same way, you can take bleach and ammonia and they can generate chlorine gas that is both toxic and deadly. And that can potentially happen with a believer and a non-believer. It's not a good result because it's gonna be detrimental to the believer. Now, having said that, when I'm saying don't marry a non-believer, I'm not saying don't have contact with non-believers. Because how are we gonna reach people with the gospel if we don't have contact with them?
Separation does not mean isolation. Paul actually wrote about this to the believers in Corinth. And understand, Corinth was a really wicked place. When we talk about the Corinthians, we could have just as easily called them the Californians. First and second, Californians.
Because the issues of Corinth apply to California. A lot of immorality, a lot of crazy stuff going on. So these are Christians living in a super pagan culture surrounded by idol worshipers and all kinds of other things.
So when Paul's writing to them, they're dealing with some issues that are similar to what we might deal with today. So Paul writes to the believers in Corinth and he says, don't associate with a so-called Christian if they indulge in sexual sin or are greedy or worship idols or are drunk or are a cheat. He took it a step further and says, don't even have a meal with them.
Wow, really? Isn't that being a little judgmental and mean? No, actually it's being loving and at the same time careful.
How could avoiding people possibly be loving? Because if you love them enough, you'll tell them the truth about what the Bible says. So someone says, I'm a Christian.
And they're living with their boyfriend or girlfriend or doing drugs or getting drunk. You say, hold on, you say you're a Christian. Why are you doing this? The Bible tells you not to do these things. Hey man, don't judge my journey. Really?
You're actually saying that? Yeah, but don't judge my journey. Buddy, I'm gonna judge your journey and you with it, okay? Craig, the Bible says, judge not, judge not, judge not. I don't know any other verse, but judge not. Yes, the Bible says, Jesus speaking, judge not lest you be judged, right?
What does it mean? It means condemn not lest you be condemned. I'm in no position to condemn a person. To say that person's going to hell. I don't know their heart.
I don't know everything about them. That's not my role, but I am supposed to judge people, which means evaluate where they're at spiritually. I'm supposed to judge myself, the Bible says.
We make evaluations every day about all kinds of things. And does not the Bible even say, judgment begins at the house of God? So if you're a fellow Christian and you're doing things that contradict the Bible, I'm gonna call you out on them, not because I want to hurt you, but because I want to help you, because you're on a destructive path and I want you to turn around. Galatians six, Paul writes, brothers and sisters of another believer is overcome by some sin. You who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back into the right path and be careful you don't fall into the same temptation yourself. So yes, I want to help them, because the Bible says, faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. That means I can't, amen, I love you, and I'm gonna tell you the truth because I love you and I don't want you to go down this path. Now, having said that, I still need to have contact with non-believers because Paul continues on and he says, now I'm not saying avoid non-believers, first Corinthians 5, 10, who indulge in sexual sin or are greedy or are cheap people.
You'd have to leave this world to avoid people like that. You might be surprised to know that when I have friendships with non-believers and I have friends that don't know the Lord, and we talk and I stand for what I stand for and they know what I believe, but I don't expect non-believers to behave as believers, but I do expect Christians to behave as Christians. But if you're ignorant, you don't know what the Bible says about this and that, I'm not going to harp on those things that you happen to be doing as much as I'm gonna try to point you to Christ, because once you come to Christ, all those other things will get sorted out.
So that's my main objective with the non-believer, bring them to Christ. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie with practical insights based in the book of Nehemiah. As our listeners may know, it's the story of Greg and Kathy Laurie falling in love in the 70s set against the story of the Jesus movement that happened at the same time.
So about the love story, our listeners have heard you mention some key phrases that you said to Kathy when you were dating, famous phrases, maybe even infamous phrases. Let me fire them at you, and you tell me if they're in the movie, all right? Yes. So you were dating Kathy, and you said at one point, Kathy, if you ever get between me and God, we're through. Is that in the movie?
That's in the movie. Okay, all right. Let's go to number two. At one time, let's call it a proposal.
It sort of went like this. So Kathy, I guess we're getting married. Is that in the movie? That's not in the movie, no. Okay, but that happened in real life.
That happened in real life. Yeah, we're just, I was such a romantic. I didn't get down on one knee. I don't even know if I had a ring. We were just sitting at a table in a restaurant, and I said to Kathy, so I guess we're getting married, huh? And Kathy said, that's the first time I knew that you wanted to marry me, and I couldn't believe I said it that way.
What was wrong with me? But hey, we've been married almost 50 years, so we did something wrong. Maybe that's a secret. That's it. Stop with the fancy proposals.
Just say to the girl you wanna marry, the guy you wanna marry, so I guess we're gonna get married, huh? Huh. Okay, one more question. Did your infamous Corvair make it into the movie? Oh yes, the Corvairs featured very prominently in the film. Okay, did it catch fire?
No, no it did not. But it breaks down all the time, which the Corvair constantly was doing. Now when I say Corvair, understand, I'm not saying Corvette, Corvair. So the Corvair, if you Google it, it was a car that was so unsafe that they wanted to take it off the road, but somehow it survived. The engine was in the back. So I was driving my Corvair once, and I plowed into the back of a car. Now, I have to explain that to stop the Corvair, you had to pump the brakes three times quickly. So I was cruising along, and this guy in a Cadillac in front of me stopped, and I went, oh no, pump number one, pump number two.
Couldn't get to pump number three, boom. Plowed into the back of his car. The entire front of my car crumpled up. That's why they wanted to take it off the road. Literally, my headlights were like cross-eyed. And yet it still drove. I didn't even hardly put a dent in this fender. So I drove that car with the cross-eyed headlights for a while, and finally I was pulled over by the police.
They said, you can't drive that car anymore. So yeah, but the Corvair's in the movie, and actually is featured in a number of scenes. Well, as we've said, Jesus Revolution is a fascinating movie that follows the life of Greg and Kathy Laurie, and the lives of Pastor Chuck Smith and Lonnie Frisbee and several others. It was the time of the Jesus movement, or as Time Magazine called it, the Jesus revolution.
It was a true time of spiritual awakening, and the time is right for another spiritual awakening. And you know, this film could help lay the groundwork. We hope you'll bring an unsaved friend to see Jesus Revolution, when it opens the third week of February, and that you'll partner with us in sharing the gospel in innovative new ways such as this. If you can invest right now, we'd like to send you the book that launched the movie.
The book is also called Jesus Revolution. We'll send it your way to say thank you for your donation right now. So call us at 1-800-821-3300. Reach us any time at 1-800-821-3300, or go online to harvest.org. Hey, I don't know if you know about this, but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home, exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world. Listen to this, we even have Harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the word of God.
So join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at harvest.org. Well next time, Pastor Greg has more insights from his study in Nehemiah, one of our top 10 most requested studies of 2022. Join us here on The New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. 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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