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. God gives us everything. We want to give God leftovers. All that we are, all that we have come from God.
Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie wonders if we're just as generous with God. He gave you your life. He gave you your job.
He gave you your help. It's all from God. God says I'd like you to give back a percentage to me.
I do have pain, right? Every believer should give of their finances to the Lord. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.
Again you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day where life begins. Every Sunday morning belongs to God. Unless it's a beautiful day, then you've got to get out in the fresh air. Every Sunday morning belongs to God. Unless the weather's awful, then you've got to watch the forecast. Devotions every morning.
Unless you didn't sleep well or were out late the night before. God isn't content with the leftovers of our lives. He wants to be top priority. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that principle even extends to our financial management. The story is told of when the Constitution of the United States had been signed and America officially became a nation. A crowd of people were standing outside of the meeting room where our founding fathers were waiting to find out what happened. A woman saw Benjamin Franklin and said, so Mr. Franklin, what type of government have you and your delegates given us? And Franklin famously responded, a republic madam, if you can keep it. The idea was okay we've laid the foundation.
Now it's up to you to see what you do with it. Well the foundation was laid in Jerusalem. The walls were rebuilt.
The temple was there. But they were not keeping it. They were not doing well at all. They started well but they were not finishing well.
Listen. It's great to have a great start and a great finish. But you can even have a mediocre start or even a bad start and have a great finish.
But here is what is not good. The greatest of starts and a horrible finish. If you are running in a race and you don't finish the race it doesn't matter if you have held the first place position for nine out of ten laps. If you don't finish the race you don't win the prize. And the same is true of the Christian life. We want to finish strong.
And you know what? You decide right now how you're going to do later in life. You don't decide later. The evening of your life is decided by the morning of your life.
The end from the beginning. So here you are you've been married two years and you say I want to have a strong marriage 42 years later. Okay great. You decide that right now.
And every day you do everything you can to strengthen that marriage. Don't wait until you're older. Because when you get older the problem is you get set in your ways. Right. You like routine. You like predictability. You like to do things the way you've always done them. No. Decide now.
Establish good habit patterns now. You're the one who will decide how it's all going to end up. And the same is true of the Christian life. You know we start out with a bang.
But if we put it into cruise control Houston we have a problem. The key is maintenance. The Bible says, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God that works in you both to will and do of His good pleasure. That does not say work for your own salvation. Because you can't. No. You work it out. You see it's given to you as a gift of God. You can work it out.
As the apostles John and Paul said, we can work it out. John Lennon. Paul McCartney.
The Beatles. Forget it. Obscure cultural reference. Ok. What. What. What verse is that? It's not a verse. It's a song. Forget it. Ok. When you have to explain a cultural reference it didn't work. But we can work it out. So when Paul says, work out your own salvation it means discover what God has given you.
He uses a word that speaks of being in a mine and pulling the gold out. So it's a lifelong discovery of growing and learning and being transformed. You never reach a plateau where well I am good. I don't need to go to church anymore. I don't need to read the Bible anymore. I have arrived.
No you haven't. I think the one way you know you are growing spiritually is when you realize you need to continue growing spiritually. That is something to keep in mind.
And one of the ways you know you are not doing well spiritually is when you think you don't need to keep growing spiritually. So let's backtrack a little bit. Then we will 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 are 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 is this great revival that breaks out. And now the people make a series of very significant commitments to the Lord. And that is where we pick up. We are in Nehemiah 10.
Point number one of your taking notes. They surrendered to the Word of God. They surrendered to the Word of God.
Nehemiah 10.28. 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 will stop there. So this is serious.
Now there is 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 am going for it. So you go in and you say, I am 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. 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 are making a commitment publicly. And that is why I think it is such a great thing to make a public stand for Jesus Christ.
You sort of seal the deal. When you are baptized that is a public commitment. People can see it.
They should see it. When you make that first stand in front of your nonbelieving friends at your workplace or on your campus and you say, I am a Christian. Have you made a public profession of your faith? Does your family know you are a Christian? All your family?
Your extended family? Do people in your neighborhood know you are a Christian? Do people in your workplace know you are a Christian? Do people on your campus know you are 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 will stand up for me I will stand up for you. And so we make that stand. And we stand by that stand that we have made. Now often we will say we believe the Bible. We will say we love the Bible. And we will quote the Bible. But will we surrender to what the Bible says? This is a 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 will 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.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in it does he meditate day and night. So you had to separate from one thing and join yourself to another. The problem with the Israelites is they had a constant problem with this.
They kept getting pulled down by ungodly people. They would inter marry with pagan people and end up doing pagan things you see. And that is 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. Now having said that when I am saying don't marry a non-believer I am not saying don't have contact with non-believers. Because how are we going to reach people with the gospel if we don't have contact with them.
Separation does not mean isolation. 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. I am not going to harp on those things that you happen to be doing as much as I am going to try to point you to Christ. Because once you come to Christ all those other things will get sorted out. So that is my main objective with the non-believer.
Bring them to Christ. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It is 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 in 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 Pastor Greg is bringing us practical insights on standing for our faith from the book of Nehemiah.
It's a message titled, This is Not a Drill. Okay now point number three. They were invested in God's kingdom. They were invested in God's kingdom. They are making this vow.
Look at verse 32. In addition they say, We promise to obey the command to pay the annual temple tax of one-eighth of an ounce of silver for the care of the temple of our God. Verse 35, We promise to bring the first part of every harvest to the Lord's temple year after year whether it be from a crop, the soil, or from our fruit trees. This was primarily an agricultural culture. Livestock culture. So they would bring their offerings. It would often be something from the field or something from the flock etc. Today we would not do that. We would bring finances.
But the point in principle is still the same. But you know a lot of times we don't want to give God our best. Notice they brought the first fruits.
The best. We want to give God leftovers. The other day I was with my son Jonathan and his son Christopher. My grandson and Jonathan gave Christopher a little bag of chips. So he is eating these chips and enjoying them. And Jonathan says, Hey buddy can I have a chip?
Christopher says, No. He says, Son could I have a chip? Could Dad have a chip?
Christopher's face is crunching up like he is in pain. No. Son give me a chip. I need a chip. I gave you those chips.
Now give me a chip back. He is like in agony. He reaches in and pulls out the most pathetic little chip. It is just microscopic. And it is even hard for him to give it over.
He is like turning away like here. Take it. Oh. And his dad says, No. I want a big chip. It is just like give me a big chip son.
Give me a good chip. He finally gives it. I thought this is so much like us and God. God gives us everything. God gave you the bag of chips man. He gave you your life. He gave you your job. He gave you your health. It is all from God. God says, I would like you to give back a percentage to me.
I do. Pain. Right. That is what this is all about. They were going to bring their very best to the Lord. God established certain laws for the nation of Israel regarding tithing. The people were to bring one tenth of their material resources to the temple and bring the best not the worst to God. Now some would say, Well tithing is not in the New Testament.
Therefore I will give nothing to God ever. Brilliant deduction. I am being sarcastic by the way. Listen to this. Ten percent is entry level. That is not where you stop.
That is where you start. Listen to this. In the New Testament the standards of the Old Testament are always raised never lowered. Let me say that again. In the New Testament the standards are never lowered.
They are always raised. For instance Jesus said, You have heard that it has been said you shall not murder but I say to you if you look at someone with hatred in your heart it is like you murdered them. You have heard, speaking of the Old Testament, that it has been said, Ten Commandments, you shall not commit adultery but I say unto you if you look at a woman with lust in your heart it is the same as committing adultery. What did He do? Did He lower the bar? No.
He actually raises the bar. So it comes down to this. Listen. Every believer should give of their finances to the Lord. Now we say, I don't like this stuff. Preachers talking about money. Wait a second.
What is your discomfort really over? Remember our earlier point. We surrender to the Word of God.
Oh we love to hear what the Bible says about prayer, about hope, about the return of Christ, about comfort. Yeah. Amen. Amen. And then there is giving.
And we are like Christopher with the little chip. We should welcome everything the Bible says about everything and just do it. So what does the Bible say? Paul deals with it extensively in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 16. Here is what we learn.
And you can write these notes down and look these things up later. Every believer should give systematically. Every believer should give systematically. Paul told the believers in Corinth to set aside a sum of money on the first day of every week.
For them that would be Sunday. Christians are to give systematically not sporadically or when it occurs to them. I think that is why electronic giving is so fantastic. That is how we give in our home. And by the way that is just we tithe of course. But then we give above that.
And I don't say that to boast. It is just I am just doing what I am supposed to do as a Christian. And I am happy to do it.
But you know you can do it electronically and it happens automatically. But however you do it you should give systematically. Number two we are to give proportionately. We are to give proportionately. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16 everyone should give in keeping with their income. So look some can give more. Some can give less. But everyone should give something. Number three we are to give joyfully.
Joyfully. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9.6 remember this. A farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop.
But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must decide in your heart how much to give and don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure for God loves a person who gives cheerfully. We will say well I can't give cheerfully. Therefore I will never give again. That would be like saying I can't pray cheerfully so I will never pray again. I can't read the Bible happily because I get bored so I will never read the Bible again.
No. Change your heart man. Get in sync with God. What did Jesus say? It is more blessed or happy to give than to receive.
Do you understand what He is saying? You think keeping your stuff makes you happy. Jesus says giving your stuff makes you happy. If you want to be happy do what He says and you watch the blessing that will come your way.
One last point. If you follow God's principles about giving you can expect Him to meet your needs. If you follow God's principles on giving you can expect Him to meet your needs. 2 Corinthians 9.8 God will give generously and provide all your need and you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. You see so God does not promise to supply your greed but He does promise to meet your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.
Listen. This is like a double test. God tests us and we can test God in this rare moment. It is a test of us. Oh I love Jesus.
Oh it is so wonderful. Ok are you following these principles? It is a test of really your commitment because where a man's treasure is there will his heart be also. But then we can test God.
You say what are you talking about? The Bible says don't test God. Hold on one time God says test me.
Do you know where it is? Malachi. God says put me to the test on this one. Bring your tithes and your offerings into the storehouse. Listen. God says and watch this.
I will open up the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing so great you will not have room enough to receive it. Put me to the test on this one. So it is a double test. Put God to the test. Give faithfully to Him and see what He does.
Pastor Greg Laurie with insights on the only time in scripture where God invites us to test Him. Today's message on A New Beginning is titled This is Not a Drill. Pastor Greg we know February as the month of Valentine's Day. Hearts and candy and romantic love.
Yes. Well also in February is a love story with deep significance coming to theaters. Tell us about that. Yes well it's a love story between two young people named Greg and Kathy and that would be me and my wife when we were very young people. I was 17. She was a little bit younger. We're played by actors Joel Courtney and Anna Grace Barlow.
They did an amazing job. It's a really sweet love story and you see the awkwardness of Greg. You know he just kind of didn't know how to really ask Kathy out even. He had become a Christian. I'm talking about him in the third person.
It's me of course but I'm talking about him in the film. So so he comes to Christ and and he's drawn to Kathy. He loves Kathy but he can't say it and the reason he can't say it is because he was just raised in a really weird home and let's make it personal. I was raised in a really strange home. You know my mother never told me she loved me. There was no affection. She was an alcoholic.
She pretty much passed out every night. I had to grow up quickly and take care of her so I was a broken person uh and so when I met Kathy and I felt this love toward her it was really hard for me to express it. So even after I became a Christian I didn't know what to say to her but I wanted her to become my girlfriend right. So 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 take your valentine to go see Jesus revolution and try to do a better job of being a proper boyfriend than Greg. Yeah and and we should say it's coming to theaters February 24th all across the country. How can listeners show their support for this film? What a great thing to make this a big box office success maybe even number one and have many people meet Christ. The the basic way to do it is buy a ticket and go to the movie that's how we get it to number one. How cool would it be to see this film number one and what is the title of it Jesus revolution to see the name of Jesus on the marquee of movie theaters and by the way this is being backed by Lionsgate. They're in major film studio they're gonna throw their weight behind it you're gonna see ads on television and elsewhere promoting the film but I would encourage folks out there promote it on your social media pages tell friends about it invite people to go see it but most importantly go see it yourself and maybe see it more than once. I think you'll find you'll want to see this movie more than one time and it's a great shared experience take your family take your friends take your bible study group take whoever you can and especially take a non-believer to see Jesus revolution. And don't forget the popcorn and the milk duds milk duds and by the way just a word about milk duds I don't know what's going on this may be California only I'm not seeing milk duds as much as I used to. I'm a little alarmed by this because I like popcorn and milk duds together sweet and savory that's a balanced meal it is I don't know if I'd call it a meal but it's a good snack in the theater. Well don't miss this film when it comes to theaters in just a few weeks Jesus revolution opening day is February 24th and don't miss your opportunity to bring someone who needs to meet the Lord there's a strong gospel undercurrent to this film and of course that's the heartbeat of this ministry sharing the hope of Christ in all that we do and we hope you might stand with us as we bring that message in innovative new ways if you can show your support right now we'd like to send you Pastor Greg's book called Jesus Revolution it's the fuller story of the Jesus movement and how it changed the lives of Greg and Kathy Laurie we'll send the book your way to thank you for your investment and you can call us right now at 1-800-821-3300 call anytime 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org well next time Pastor Greg returns with more insight from the book of Nehemiah and one of this past year's most requested studies join us here on a new beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about Harvest Ministries follow this show and consider supporting it just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-09 05:37:49 / 2023-01-09 05:47:55 / 10