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. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how it's the Holy Spirit's job to draw people to Jesus Christ. Sometimes people will come up to me and say, Greg, you're an evangelist. Tell me what I can say that will make a person believe, like I have some secret. Okay, don't share this with anybody. Say this and they'll believe.
Okay, no, there's nothing like that. There's actually a bit of mystery to it. It's just the work of the Spirit of God. Some believers wish there was a tried and true formula for bringing someone to Christ. Memorize these verses. Rehearse these statements. If they ask this, you say that.
Well, preparation is good, but sometimes people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the Holy Spirit is the one who draws people to Christ. We can certainly plant a seed, but we have to allow for the Spirit's work in their lives. Here in John chapter 16, we're looking together at the work of the Holy Spirit and the life of the non-believer. In our last message, we focused primarily on the work of the Holy Spirit and the life of the Christian.
Now we're looking at the work that he wants to do in the life of the person who is not yet a Christian. We're in John 16, starting at verse 7. Jesus says, Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage I go away.
For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send him to you. And when he has come, he will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment, of sin, because they do not believe in me, of righteousness, because I go to my Father and you see me no more, and of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
We'll stop there. The Holy Spirit of God. He's come to convince us of our sin. Not so while we will be driven away in despair, but so I will run to the cross. See that's what he does. He says, You are bad. You are sinful.
There's the answer. And he lights the way. It's Jesus. Go to Jesus and your sins will be forgiven. Go to Jesus and that righteousness will be placed in your account. Go to Jesus and your questions will be answered.
That's a very important distinction. He shows you the sin. Then he brings you to the Savior.
That's it. The work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is also keeping the lid on things. He's keeping the lid on things. Have you ever had something cooking and it starts to overflow?
You're holding the lid. Well right now things are super wicked. Consider this. Second Thessalonians 2 says, The mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. The new international translation of that same verse says, The one who now holds it back will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way.
The Holy Spirit through the church is a restraining force in the world today. When you look at these wanton acts of senseless violence. People walking into malls and shooting people. Walking into a church and killing people.
Even children. And we see these horrible depraved things happening. You say it can't get any worse. Then it gets worse doesn't it. And then more bad things start happening closer together. And this is just a glimpse of what is coming. I would like to say folks it's going to get better really soon.
No you know what. It's going to get worse. Way worse because there is a time coming to the earth called the great tribulation period. It's going to last for seven years. It will be inaugurated by the emergence of the anti-Christ who is really a false Christ.
A false Messiah. And all hell is going to literally break loose. You say wow this is the most depressing thing I have ever heard. Ok that is the bad news. I have some good news.
Ready for it? Before the anti-Christ emerges on the scene Jesus Christ is going to come for His church and call us up to heaven. This is sometimes called the rapture of the church. Where it says the dead in Christ will rise first.
We which are alive and remaining shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In a moment in the twinkling of an eye some people will say well the word rapture isn't in the Bible. Is that your best argument? The word Bible isn't in the Bible. Did you know that? The word trinity isn't in the Bible.
Did you know that? So the word rapture isn't there but the word harpazo is. It's a Greek word. And so if you have a Latin Bible it translates to rapturus which we get our English word rapture from. So forget the word rapture.
Call it the harpazo. Where we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air it is going to happen. But it is going to happen before anti-Christ is revealed. That is why it is futile and pointless to try to figure out who the anti-Christ is.
Every now and then someone will come along. I figured it out and they write a book. But it is never the guy. And it is not even worth spending your energy on. Because anti-Christ can't be revealed until the church is removed. So the Holy Spirit working through the church. Now sometimes this is misunderstood. And people think the Holy Spirit is going to be taken off of the earth and that is not true.
And here is why. Because people are going to come to Jesus in the tribulation period. And not only that there is going to be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the tribulation period. Well how can people come to Jesus without the Holy Spirit's help?
We have already pointed that out. No man comes to the Father says our Lord unless the Spirit draws him. So the Spirit will still be at work in the world in the tribulation. But what it is saying is He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. It means the Holy Spirit's restraining work through the church will come to an end when we are caught up to be with the Lord in heaven.
And until that day comes we are told by we are told by Jesus to be salt and light in this culture. To stand up for what is true. To speak out against what is wrong.
To let others know of your faith in Jesus Christ. As John 1 says, the light shines in the darkness but the darkness did not comprehend it. You know it is an interesting thing that phrase comprehend a word.
It means understood. It means a nonbeliever cannot wrap their mind around what you believe unless the Holy Spirit tells them or shows them. That is why I always pray that the Holy Spirit will work in the hearts of people when I speak. And I pray that the Holy Spirit will work in the heart of a person when I am sharing my faith. Because sometimes people will come up to me and say, Greg you are an evangelist. Tell me what I can say that will make a person believe. Like I have some secret. Ok. Don't share this with anybody.
Only us evangelists know about it. But if you say this. Say this and they will believe.
Ok. No. There is nothing like that. It is just the work of the Spirit. There is actually a bit of mystery to it. And I kind of love that.
Love that. Because I don't know. I just know it when I see it. So I can share these things and some of you will hear it and say yeah I get that.
I believe that. And another person will hear it and not get it at all. Only the Holy Spirit can help you to grasp this. But here is the funny thing. Sometimes we want to play Holy Spirit. We want to be Holy Spirit. You know we will convict them of their sin. We will guilt trip them right into the kingdom. We will pressure them into believing. We will argue them into the Christian faith.
No you do not want to do that. Because if they can be argued in they can be argued out. No we want it to be a work of the Holy Spirit. So as you live a godly life that creates the tension that the Holy Spirit uses to bring about conversion. Listen to this. It is the division that brings unity. Ok.
I don't even know what you are talking about now. Ok. Jesus said, don't think that I came to bring peace but I tell you rather division. For a man will be divided against his son and a woman against her daughter and a man's enemies will be those of his own household. Don't think I came to bring peace but this division. Say well that doesn't fit. Christianity is all about peace. Well in a way it is. But before there can be that ultimate peace there has to be a tension.
Here is how it works. You live as a man or a woman of God and you change an environment. Let's take Thanksgiving. And you are a Christian. And maybe you became a Christian in the last year or two. So you are going to get together with your family.
Let's say your family loves to drink and party and carry on and tell jokes they shouldn't be telling etc. And now you are the Christian and they all know you are the Christian. So now the meal is put on the table and everyone is standing around awkwardly waiting for you to hopefully not do a prayer. Absolutely do a prayer. You know I find most people will not stop me from praying. I will walk up to a non-believer especially if they are hurting and I will ask them do you mind if I prayed for you? Could I pray for you?
Very rarely have I had someone say no. Don't pray. Most people will say yeah go ahead. So you say you know what I would like to just pray.
Here we go. Well you know don't be obnoxious about it. Don't do a one hour prayer ok. And I don't know if you should extend an invitation at your you know. Well our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed. Some of you might be thinking do I know Jesus?
Uncle Harry I am talking to you. You know be cool about it. The Lord will lead you as to what you should see and do. But it does create this tension and you don't like the tension because you used to laugh together and have more fun together and now there is this thing and you wish you could get rid of that thing and well no it is that thing. It is that tension that the Holy Spirit will use by showing a contrast between your life and their life that can help to bring them to Jesus.
So just roll with it. Don't make the tension worse than it is by guilt tripping people or being obnoxious or mean. Be as friendly and as loving as you can be but just be a Christian. And pray that the Holy Spirit will work through your life to make people aware of their need for Christ.
That is why I say it is the division that ultimately brings unity or the conflict that ultimately brings peace. The Holy Spirit has come to bring us to Christ and first he can fix us. So let's pray that work happens in a person's life. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It is great to hear that people are listening to Pastor Greg's messages. Last week as I was driving I came across the tail end of one of your radio sermons as you were praying and leading listeners to Christ. The broadcast host mentioned being able to send you a message and as I was considering that an old work truck stopped just in front of me with two Greg Laurie and Harvest.org bumper stickers in its window. Now I don't know looking for signs from God but this one was difficult to ignore. Thank you so much for choosing to be faithful and follow Jesus even through the grief you experienced in the loss of your own son.
People like me need examples like you to focus on Christ. Thank you Pastor Greg. Has Pastor Greg heard from you? Why not drop him an email and share your story? Send it to Greg at Harvest.org. Do it today while you're thinking about it. Again that's Greg at Harvest.org.
And now Pastor Greg continues his important message called The Holy Spirit and You Part Two. Let's just say that I went out and bought you a very expensive present. In fact let's say that I emptied my savings account and spent everything I owned. I sold my house.
I took everything I have and I don't even own my house but somehow I sold it. I'm still making payments on it but I sold everything and I said I bought you this gift and I want to give it to you and you know it was valuable because the price tag was still attached to it. Isn't it funny when people leave price tags and gifts. So you give it to the person. All I'm really hoping you'll do is say thank you and I accept this gift and I'm going to enjoy this gift and you can live in my backyard. I know you sold your house to get it but if you were to take this gift that I spent everything I owned and just look at it and say oh huh you know thank you so sweet of you and then you just sort of moved it off to the side.
I'd be like are you going to open the gift? I don't really want it. Can you return it? Actually I can't.
Oh that's too bad. You know what that's an insult to me. Now imagine what God did. He gave his own son.
What more could God give for humanity than his own son Jesus put on the cross. His spotless sinless perfect son that he loved with all of his heart and then God took all of his judgment and all of his wrath that should have been put on you and should have been put on me and instead he put it on his own son that he loved so much but he did that because of his love for us and all we have to do now is take this gift of eternal life that was bought at the cross just receive it and say Lord thank you and if you say well I don't want that that's an insult to God and you're rejecting the work that the Holy Spirit has come to do and you can find yourself committing the unforgivable sin. What's the unforgivable sin? The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit according to Jesus.
What is that? It's the complete and total rejection of the work the Spirit has come to do. Let me put it another way. The unforgivable sin is the rejection of Jesus Christ. It's worse than any other sin. Why? Because all other sins can be forgiven no matter how radical no matter how horrible they can be forgiven but the one sin God will not forgive is if you reject his provision for your sin Jesus who died on the cross and rose again from the dead.
Guess what? The Holy Spirit is here with us right now and I know what he's saying. You say how do you know?
Because he says it in his Word. We read this in Revelation. And the Spirit and the bride say come. Let him that is thirsty come and let him drink of the water of life freely.
The Holy Spirit is saying to you right now if you are not yet a believer in Jesus come. Well I have questions yeah just come. Well I have all these problems yeah come. I have this addiction come.
I have this struggle this problem yeah come. And there's this sinful yeah come. Come to Jesus he's saying. Just come to Jesus. Because when you come to Jesus and you're forgiven of your sin he can transform your life. It's not a 12 step program.
It's a one step program. Come to Christ and believe. So so ends the sermon folks. But so begins a changed life for you if you accept this message we've shared.
Here's the message plain and simple. You're a sinner. You're not as good as you think you are.
You're actually much worse than you ever thought you were. But the good news is is God has made a provision for your sin. And he poured it on Jesus who died in your place and rose again from the dead. And Jesus now stands at the door of your life and he knocks and he says if you hear his voice and open the door he will come in. And the Holy Spirit is saying to you come. Now you can say well no I don't want to come.
Well you know what you don't have to come. And the Holy Spirit will not drag you kicking and screaming. He'll nudge you. He'll show you. You'll sense that need in your life. But you can resist and say well I don't want it. I don't care.
Okay that's up to you. You can resist him or you can yield to him. You know when you're driving you see a yield sign. That means yeah okay yield. Pay attention.
Other traffic may be flowing in here. Be open. Okay so when we yield to God it just means I'm saying all right Lord come in.
I'm removing the stop sign in my heart. I'm opening the door of my life. I'm inviting you in.
I'm saying here it is Lord. Come in. Enter into my life and forgive me. He'll do that for you.
Your life can change. You can know you'll go to heaven. And you can walk out of here with that inner assurance I was talking about earlier. His Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God.
If you don't know that respond to this invitation. I'll extend as we pray together. Let's all bow our heads and everybody praying. Father thank you so much for loving us. Sinful us. Wicked us.
And you love us so much you sent Jesus to die on the cross in our place. And Lord your Holy Spirit is here with us right now. He's at work. He's tugging on hearts right now.
He's moving in the lives and the minds of people. Showing them their need for you. But Lord they have to respond. You won't force them to believe. Lord I pray your Holy Spirit will convict and convince any person here or any other person listening or watching who does not yet know you. And I pray that they will come to believe in you now. We ask this in Jesus' name.
Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer. And if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg would like to help you do that and he'll do so before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. And then we're excited about the new movie coming to theaters nationwide next month, Jesus Revolution.
Of course it's the story of Greg and Kathy Laurie, a couple of young kids falling in love, set against the backdrop of the Jesus movement of the late 60s and early 70s. You know Pastor Greg, many of us have joked at times about who would play us in the movie of our lives, right? Of course for me it would have to be George Clooney or Brad Pitt of course or more likely Danny DeVito. But you actually had to choose someone that could do you. What was the process like finding Joel Courtney? Well you know Brad Pitt did want to play me but I just said you're a little too old Brad, this is the younger character in the film but thanks for coming in. No, Joel Courtney, well actually I didn't make the decision Dave, that decision was made by the director John Irwin. I did not cast this film, he cast it and I wasn't real familiar with Joel.
I'd seen his movie Super 8 when he was a bit younger. I'd seen him in other things but I didn't know a lot about Joel but as I looked at the performance he brought, man he brought it big time and did such an incredible job. I'm so honored that he wanted to play this role and you know Joel Courtney is a Christian and so it was important to him to help tell the story to a generation. He has a lot of fans out there, a lot of people that follow him on social media and he's taken this platform that he has and he's using it for God's glory and I think people are going to love the job he did in the young lady who plays Kathy, Anna Grace Barlow.
I had never heard of her before but she was the perfect choice, just so embodies this role and of course Kelsey Grammer as Chuck Smith, he just nails it and then finally Jonathan Rumi best known as playing the role of Jesus in the outstanding series The Chosen plays evangelist Lonnie Frisbee some incredible performances in this film. Yeah you're right it's a moving story you'll be glad you saw the film. Make plans to go see Jesus Revolution when it comes out February 24th in theaters nationwide. You know our goal is to share the hope of Christ as far and wide as possible. Of course we do that here on A New Beginning, we do that through Pastor Greg's large-scale harvest crusades and we're doing it again with this new film. It's the gospel wrapped in a compelling motion picture and we so much appreciate your partnership as we share this message in exciting new ways this year. So thank you for your investment and to say thank you tangibly we'd like to send you Pastor Greg's book also called Jesus Revolution.
It's what laid the groundwork for this new film. We'll send you a copy that you can read before the movie comes out. Ask for it when you make your donation today.
Call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or just go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg you spoke today about having a relationship with the Lord. Yeah. Someone can enter into that kind of a relationship with God right now can't they?
Yeah they really can that's the amazing thing. I think people are surprised that it doesn't take years to become a Christian, it doesn't take months, it doesn't take weeks, it doesn't take days, it doesn't even take hours. You can believe on the spot and I would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask for his forgiveness. A prayer where you can receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord. So if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want a second chance in life, if you want to go to heaven when you die, stop what you're doing and pray after me these words. Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner and I'm sorry for my sin and I turn from it now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. As Savior and Lord, as God and friend, thank you for loving me and calling me and forgiving me in Jesus name I pray, amen. Amen. And if you have just prayed those words with Pastor Greg, the Lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin.
The Bible tells us Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanses from all unrighteousness. And we'd like to send you some materials to help you begin to live this new life. We call it our New Believers Growth Packet. Just ask for it and we'll send it to you free of any charge if you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg.
Just call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime at 1-800-821-3300 or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click on Know God. Well next time Pastor Greg brings a message called The Seven Love Letters of Jesus to His Church, another of the most requested presentations of the past year based on Jesus' message to the seven churches of Revelation. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
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