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The Race We Must Win | Words From Paul

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 11, 2023 3:00 am

The Race We Must Win | Words From Paul

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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January 11, 2023 3:00 am

Coming up today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on Paul’s words in Philippians. While he was under house arrest, he wrote some of the most inspiring counsel on where to find happiness and joy! And as Pastor Greg presents one of the most requested studies of the past year, we see Paul talks about the Christian life as a race. And much like a coach inspiring his runners, today on A NEW BEGINNING we’ll be inspired to run with purpose and intent, so we finish well.

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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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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. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us the finale in his Philippians series with a message he calls, The Race We Must Win. You know, it's a funny thing that we have sort of a trend I think in children's sports, especially today. We give kids trophies for showing up. It's a participation trophy.

Okay, newsflash. In the race of life, God wants us to win. He doesn't want us to just show up. It's not just about running. It's about winning. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on Paul's words in Philippians.

While he was under house arrest, he wrote some of the most inspiring counsel on where to find happiness and joy. And as Pastor Greg presents one of the most requested studies of the past year, we see Paul talks about the Christian life as a race and much like a coach inspiring his runners. Today on A New Beginning, we'll be inspired to run with purpose and intent so we finish well. You know, ever since I was a little kid, I've always wanted to be an athlete. But the problem was I was never really good at any sport in particular. When I tell you I was the last one picked for the team, I'm not kidding actually. But I did go out for football when I was in high school. I was a pretty fast runner. And so I went through all the training and I even shaved my head which was hard because I had really cool surfer blonde hair. I had like a nice little wave that I would do this all the time you know. And to sacrifice that hair to be on the team.

I thought well it's worth it. I'm gonna be on the team. And I shaved my head and like literally the day after I'm called into the principal's office and they said you can't be on the football team. I said why not?

They said your grades are too low. My response was okay. Could you have told me that before I shaved my head? But you know one thing I was pretty good at was running. I could outrun most people. Not long distance running though. Sprinting was what I was better at. Whenever there would be a race I would be ahead of everyone. But of course I would quickly lose steam and then people would catch up with me and sometimes they would lap me. And periodically turtles would pass me.

But I was good with that initial burst of steam. But you know the Christian life is really a long distance run. And it's something we engage in each and every day. And you know there's a lot of people want to get out and run but a lot of people don't follow through. Even when after they buy running shoes which are very expensive now by the way in case you haven't noticed. I read that 87 percent of those who buy running shoes never use them.

87 percent. Hey check out these running shoes. Have you gone for a run?

No but I walked from my car to Starbucks. And I'm looking good right. So you know that's how it is in real life. Now I am not naturally the kind of guy that wants to go have a workout. That's the thing I want to get out of doing.

It's so bad I don't even like to jog my memory. It's you know. But the last week I was at the gym and I was stretching and I was bending and I was lifting and I was just getting out of the car.

That's what's so sad about that. But no seriously though I go to the gym seven days a week. I do yeah.

It's on the way to Krispy Kreme donuts. I go by the gym I should say all right. Well anyway but you know if you want to be a real athlete you have to be committed.

You have to work at it. I read that the average Olympic athlete works out four hours a day 310 days a year for six years to compete for the goal. And then once if you are selected to be on the Olympic team which is a great honor of course you know you have to discipline yourself and a very important thing you must play by the rules. You know it's a funny thing we have sort of a trend I think in children's sports especially today where they say you know we don't really keep tabs on who's winning because everyone's a winner.

By the way that is I don't think that's a good thing to do for kids because that's not the way it is in the real world okay. We give kids you know trophies for showing up. It's a participation trophy. Okay news flash in the race of life God wants us to win.

He doesn't want us to just show up. It's not just about running it's about winning. And you know when they say everyone's a winner that's actually not true. Everyone is not a winner. There are losers in the race of life because they bail or they break the rules or they don't finish what they've started. God wants us to win in this race. 1 Corinthians 9 24 it says remember in a race everyone runs but only one person gets the prize so run in such a way that you will win every athlete practices self-control they do it to win a prize that will fade away but we're doing it for an eternal prize so I discipline my body like an athlete training to do what it should otherwise after I have preached to others I myself would be disqualified.

And we could illustrate this with a lot of examples of athletes who maybe won an Olympic event but it was found out later that that they'd been using steroids or in some other way they broke the rules and so they even had their gold medal taken from them on some occasions. Well anyway we want to run this race of life and we want to run it well so there are things that sort of slow us down in the race of life. Things that impede our progress.

What are they? Let's go back now to Philippians 2 and look at verse 14 and 15 and I would point this out complaining and bickering can hinder us in running the race. Let me say that again complaining and bickering can hinder us in running the race of life and also impede our happiness and joy. Look at verse 14 and 15 do all things without complaining and disputing that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world.

Another translation of 14 and 15 goes as follows. Do everything readily and cheerfully. No bickering.

No second guessing allowed. Go into the world uncorrupted. A breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society.

Provide people with a glimpse of good living and the living God. I love that translation. Now when Paul uses the word complaining a better way to translate it would be murmuring. It's not speaking of loud boisterous screaming but rather low toned discontented muttering.

Does that make sense? So it's not a person who says I don't like what's going on. It's more the person who's like this. I don't like what's going on.

Do you like what's going on? I don't agree with that. Do you agree with that?

Don't you know they're always complaining. Sort of like Popeye. Remember Popeye?

You ever watch a Popeye cartoon? He's always muttering. What is he saying?

No one knows but he's muttering right? That that's the idea here. You know and that's how some people are. They're always muttering or complaining or jumping to conclusions. I'm amazed how people will jump to conclusions. You know the only exercise some Christians get is running down others and jumping to conclusions. They think they heard something which maybe they didn't hear at all or they misinterpret it yet. Then they'll build a whole case on that thing that really wasn't even true and then they'll get angry about it and this confestering go on for a long period of time.

Don't let that be you. Heard a story of a man who decided to join a monastery and become a monk and he had to take a vow of silence and at the end of the year he would be allowed to appear before the head priest but he could only say two words. So after one year of being in this monastery the monk said bed's hard. Another year passes he meets a head priest and he says food's cold. After the third year he comes before the head priest and he says I quit. The head priest says well it's no wonder since you've arrived you've done nothing but complain. But people aren't like this and I've found that people who like to complain complain are never happy to keep it to themselves. They kind of want to spread it around you know. What do you think?

Do you agree that that we should do that? I don't think this is right and not just a sort of person they are but yes verse 14 says do all things without disputing. This speaks of arguing. An argumentative person is always looking for fault and wrong with others. They're always looking for a verbal fight. Do you know any argumentative people?

I do. They're just looking for a thing to get upset about. They just go from conflict to conflict. The Bible is saying don't be that person and this is the very opposite in fact of what a Christian ought to be because 1 Corinthians 13 says love believes the best of every person but some people believe the very worst about every person. They think their motives are always wrong and they're second guessing and challenging it. And then we are to also be blameless. Look at verse 15. Be blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. By the way the word blameless means to be unblameable.

Unblameable. In other words people can blame us because we don't do things wrong. It speaks of moral integrity manifesting itself externally. Of course Jesus modeled this for us.

He's able to turn to his accusers in John 8 46. One day and say to them can you prove me guilty of any sin? If I'm telling the truth believe me. Why don't you believe me? In other words he's saying hey what have I done wrong? What sin have I committed?

Well there was none at all. He said well that was Jesus. Yeah but what about Daniel the prophet?

He was a guy just like us and he was such a godly man that when his enemies wanted to trip him up because they were jealous of his power and influence with the king we read in Daniel 6 for his enemies couldn't find anything to criticize or condemn because he was faithful always responsible and completely trustworthy. We are to be blameless. And the second word that is used here is be harmless. And a better way to translate this would be inexperienced in evil.

I like that. Inexperienced in evil. This is not a stupid person. This is not a naive person. This is a person who is simply not chosen to be experienced in evil. This is the person who maybe when the dirty joke is told they don't get it. Uh what?

Oh sorry your mind isn't perverse like everybody else right? So this is the idea. In a moment Pastor Greg will move from the obstacles to avoid to the principles we should embrace if we want to run our race to win. Stay with us. It's 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. As we run our race for Christ there are things that can slow us down and today Pastor Greg is warning us of those impediments and obstacles to avoid. Let's listen. We are to be without fault number three it says in verse 15. This means no blemish or indication of disease and you say oh Greg you know this is nice you stand up there behind your pulpit and you tell us these things you know but I can't live at this level and besides God loves me and accepts me so I don't have to live at that level.

Hold on that can be an excuse. Yes God accepts you as you are but did you know he doesn't want to leave you that way. See a lot of times in the name of God accepts me as I am we continue in a path of maybe sinfulness or we never grow spiritually and we just rationalize it by saying well God accepts me and loves me as I am but God wants you to grow up spiritually. God wants you to become more like Jesus and remember we already read in Philippians 2 it is God that works in you both the will and do of his good pleasure.

God will not ask you to do anything he will not give you the power to do. The calling of God is the enabling of God and if we live this way verse 15 says we'll shine as light in this perverse world. If you really want to see a light shine brightly turn it on in a dark place. Let me put it another way. You ever see someone check their texts on their cell phone in a movie theater?

I don't care how far away they are it's noticeable and quite honestly it's distracting. So in the same way when we're a light and a dark place we really stand out from the crowd and people notice us for sure but it's very important verse 16 says holding forth the word of life so I may rejoice in the day of Christ. In other words you don't want to just be a good example and not tell people why you're living the way that you're living. So someone might say to you you know I notice you're you're a happy person you're a kind person you're always serving others.

What is it about you? Why do you live that way? Well I believe in you know having a strong family and living by a set of morals. Really where do you get your morals?

I believe tell them where you get them. I get them from the bible and by the way I wasn't always this way. In fact I was the opposite of this before but Christ has come into my life and thank you for that compliment but anything you see in me is a result of my relationship with Jesus Christ. See we want them to know why we are the way that we are and that's what is being said here by Paul and Philippians holding forth the word of life.

Okay so having said that now let's shift gears and talk about this race we are to run. Very familiar words in verse 12 of Philippians 3. Paul says not that I've already attained or I'm already perfected but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of me. Brothers I do not count myself to have apprehended but this one thing I do forgetting the things which are behind and reaching forward to the things that are ahead I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore let us as many of us are mature have this mind and if any of you think otherwise God will reveal this to you. So I started with the idea of the race of life. We're all in this race. We need to run this race to win. We've got to play by the rules but what principles do we learn here about running the race of life.

If you're taking notes here's principle number one. You must be dissatisfied with where you presently are spiritually. You must be dissatisfied with where you presently are spiritually. Paul says in verse 12 it's not that I have attained or I'm already perfected.

Another translation of verses 12 to 14 would go as follows. I'm not saying I have it all together or that I have it made but I'm on my way reaching out for Christ who has wonderfully reached out for me. Friends don't get me wrong by no means do I count myself an expert in all this but I have my eye on the goal where God is beckoning us onward to Jesus.

I'm off and running and I'm not turning back. You see Paul was satisfied with Christ but he wasn't satisfied with himself. So he's saying I have a long ways to go. Do you realize that about yourself? Do you think you have a long ways to go?

Or are you thinking not me man. I've arrived. Well I'm sure you've made a lot of progress since you first believed but oh my it seems to me the more you know the Lord the more you realize that you have a lot of changing to do and if anyone could have thought that he had arrived it would be the apostle Paul. I mean this is a man who has led countless people to Christ. He's established churches. He's written epistles and yet he is saying I have so much to learn and so far to go. Can you imagine a group of Christians sitting around with the apostle Paul? Someone might say well you know what God inspired me to share something with someone today. Another might say the Lord led me to give the gospel to someone today and Paul could say well God gave me inspired letters called epistles that make up half the Bible that will last forever.

Oh wow okay you win. I don't think Paul would have ever said that but I'm just saying for a point think of the comparison. Someone could say I heard God speak to me once. Another might say well I sensed his presence as we were worshiping the other day and Paul said well actually I died. I went to heaven and then I came back from the dead to write more epistles. Oh by the way did I mention I raised someone from the dead?

I mean who could top this guy? This guy was at the top of his game but yet he says I have so far to go and it's just a reminder that no matter how long you've known the Lord there's always room for growth and I think one of the problems is we become satisfied with where we are and one of the reasons that you might be self-satisfied is you're comparing your running with that of other Christians. See the other day I did a race with my grandchildren. They all wanted to race me. We want to race papa and I thought wow this I could lose today because a couple of them are getting older but we'll give it a go. So we picked a spot. My wife went a ways away three feet. No it was further but so we're all getting ready to run and we take off and I beat them and you know now that's so what I beat a bunch of grandkids you know that's kind of sad.

I should have let them win but it was game on okay. But that's the point. I beat children in a race okay. So I can say I'm pretty fast. Yeah I beat old Christopher.

He's four years old. So what? Now if I would have raced against an athletic runner I would have done horribly. So my point is simply this. If I'm comparing myself to people much weaker than me I'll always seem like I'm doing better. But if I compare myself with other people who are really running well I'll see oh man I have a long ways to go.

And that's what'll happen. Well I'm not as bad as that guy. Try comparing yourself with someone that's doing well. See that sense of self-satisfaction is not a good thing. Paul did not compare himself with others. He compared himself with himself and with Jesus Christ. The plan here is progress not perfection.

We will never be perfect. Pastor Greg Laurie with important insight on having the right mindset as we run our race for Christ. And there's more to come from this top 10 message called The Race We Must Win here on A New Beginning. Well Pastor Greg we're so excited about your new film Jesus Revolution coming out very soon. And you pointed out it's a realistic look at the Jesus movement. That great spiritual awakening during the late 60s and early 70s. Yes. And you pointed out that your bold audacious dream for this movie is that it would lay the groundwork for the next spiritual awakening. Yeah. We need it and the time is right for it. Would you say the conditions are similar now as compared to the late 60s and early 70s?

Yes I would. Very similar. In fact I can't think of any two decades that are more alike than the late 60s early 70s in this moment in American history. Certainly I wouldn't say that of the 80s the 90s or even the early 2000s.

But right now it's so parallel. It's even kind of interesting how certain drugs have made a comeback. Weed is so widespread. Marijuana.

More people smoke marijuana today than cigarettes. And LSD is made a comeback. And these are bad things by the way.

And those are drugs that my generation experimented with myself included searching for answers and of course not finding them. But then just the divide between generations. The racial division which was very strong in the late 60s. Just the general chaos.

So many things are similar. And we had a revolution but it wasn't a political revolution. It wasn't a moral revolution. It was a Jesus revolution.

Now interestingly we did not call it that. We called it the Jesus movement. But it was Time magazine that dubbed it Jesus revolution.

And I think Time saw something that we may not have seen. It was a revolution. The word revolution means an upheaval. You know and it's where things are changed dramatically.

But revolution also means going in a complete circle right. So it was like a returning back to what I believe was New Testament Christianity. And so when I became a Christian in 1970 at the age of 17, I did not know I was in a spiritual awakening.

I just went to this church called Calvary Chapel. It was alive. It was overflowing with people of all ages. God was at work and I'd walked right into the middle of a bona fide spiritual awakening. And I had a front row seat and I saw spiritual things happen. I saw the birth of what we call contemporary Christian music now. Back then we called it Jesus music. I saw the birth of of modern praise and worship and a whole new approach to doing church.

That all is rooted back in those days. And so wow I look back and I thank God I was able to be there. And now other people can see what it was like.

When you watch this film Jesus Revolution you're gonna feel in many ways like you're going back in time. And that was our hope as I spoke with the director John Irwin. You know I had vivid memories of details. You know I'm a designer. You know before I was a preacher I was an artist and and so I remember I noticed things. I noticed colors and textures and other things.

So I gave him as much detail as I could and I tell you he captured lightning in a bottle. There are scenes in this film where you feel like you're there experiencing it for yourself. It's very interesting when older people watch this movie it's sort of a flashback to use a 60s term.

They remember like when my character Greg is baptized. I think I see people get tears in their eyes. They're reflecting back on their own conversion but when young people watch it it's an entirely different experience.

It's almost as though they're experiencing it themselves now in real time. So I think this movie is going to reach people of all ages and I'm hoping that young people are impacted and I'm hoping that they'll see it and say we want this to happen in our generation. We want our own Jesus movement and in this film played a role in that we would be so excited. You know it's been said the fame of revival spreads the flame of revival. So this is a revival story and our hope and prayer is that it's not just a film but that it creates a movement. That it moves people toward God and inspires a generation of younger people to pray for their own Jesus revolution.

Yeah yeah that's right. It's something we can all use as a tool to help bring friends and loved ones face to face with the hope of the gospel. We hope you'll plan to see Jesus Revolution when it premieres the third week of February. It has the gospel message built right in and we also hope you'll pray that God uses this as an instrument to bring many people to him and we hope you'll partner with us to keep spreading the good news in creative ways such as this. If you can invest in this work right now we'd like to send you Pastor Greg's book called Jesus Revolution.

Read it read it before you see the film. It obviously goes into much more detail and it would be our privilege to send this to you as a thank you gift for your donation. So call us anytime at 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. Well next time Pastor Greg brings us more great encouragement from his message The Race We Must Win. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-11 11:46:35 / 2023-01-11 11:57:04 / 10

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