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The Bible & Revival | What Makes a Healthy Christian

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2023 3:00 am

The Bible & Revival | What Makes a Healthy Christian

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 15, 2023 3:00 am

God’s Word is a light for our path . . . food for our souls. It’s the only offensive weapon in our suit of spiritual armor. And yet, in many homes, it’s the most dusty book on the bookshelf. It contains the very keys to the issues of life, yet it’s overlooked and forgotten. And so many times we need the help it offers. A well-used Bible that’s falling apart is usually owned by someone who isn’t. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the importance of digesting Scripture.

Listen on harvest.org

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JESUS REVOLUTION is in theaters everywhere February 24, 2023. Catch an early screening February 22. Go to https://jesusrevolution.movie/ 

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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. When you're a healthy Christian, you will desire God's Word in your life. So if to you, reading the Bible is a drag, that is not a good indication, I think a real indication, of you being a spirit-filled believer is that you are hungry for God's Word.

Health is often tied to appetite. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out it's a very good sign if we have an appetite for Scripture. God's Word is a light for our path, food for our souls. It's our only offensive weapon in our suit of spiritual armor, and yet in many homes is the most dusty book on the bookshelf. It contains the very keys to the issues of life, yet it's overlooked and forgotten.

And so many times we need the help it offers. A well-used Bible that's falling apart is usually owned by someone who isn't. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the importance of digesting Scripture. The Bible. I can tell you I knew nothing about the Bible before I was a Christian. I wasn't raised in a Christian home. I'd never read the Bible for myself.

I was completely ignorant of it. But on my high school campus where the Jesus movement was happening, there was a lot of young kids walking around with Bibles. And these are kids I knew. Some of these kids I used to party with and hang out with, and I thought, why on earth would they carry a Bible publicly? That is so weird. It's so insane. And we kind of made fun of them. We laughed at them and thought they were all collectively one taco short of a combination plate or something.

Right? So you know my story. I was walking across the front lawn of my campus. I saw the Christians singing their songs about Jesus. And I sat down close enough to listen in on what they were saying. And for the first time I heard the gospel.

That was the day I accepted Christ into my life. So that weekend I had planned to go and do some drugs. And I thought, well, okay, I'm a Christian and I'm just going to go do drugs as a Christian.

That's great, isn't it? And I was all alone. And I was sitting on a rock and I was getting ready to get high. And that same still small voice that I heard on my high school campus spoke to me again. The Lord said, you don't need that anymore. And I said, all right, God, if you're real, you're going to have to prove it to me.

Because I don't know if I believe this, even though I prayed and asked you into my life. So I threw my little baggie of pot away and my little pipe. And I said, help me with this. So I went back to school the next Monday. And I didn't know where to fit in. I didn't feel comfortable around my old druggy friends because they just got high every day pretty much.

And I didn't want to be with them. But the Christians were a little too intense for me. A little too much praise the Lord, hallelujah, right? And they were, praise God, man. I love the Lord.

Praise Jesus. I'm like, okay, whatever. And so I was sort of in that in-between spot. You know how that can be when you're a brand new believer. And so I'm walking across my high school campus and some guy yells out my name. I don't even know this guy. He goes, Greg. I turn to him. He goes, brother Greg. And I'm like, brother? Brother?

Unless you're a brother from another mother, you know. And he goes, bro. I said, yeah. And he's like, I got something for you, bro. And I said, what did you get for me?

He says, this. And he holds up this Bible, really big Bible. And it was swayed. Back in those days we covered our Bibles with fur and suede and all kinds of things, you know. So who knows why.

And it had popsicle sticks glued together in the shape of a cross. Bro, praise the Lord. Read it. It's God's word. I'm like, oh man.

So he leaves. And I'm so embarrassed by this Bible. So I shove it into the pocket of my coat because I didn't want anyone to see that I was carrying a Bible. So I decided to go over to my old friend's house where I basically used to go every day at lunchtime and get high. No wonder my grades were so low.

You get high, your grades are low. So I went over to my friend's house. This Bible that was in my pocket, I pulled it out and I put it in the bushes in front of his house because I didn't want them to see it sticking out of my coat pocket. So I put my Bible in the bushes. I was a very bold witness for Christ, wasn't I? I walked in and I hadn't seen these guys since I'd become a Christian.

And I walked in. They said, Lori. That's what they called me. How are you doing, man? I said, I'm fine. And they said, what have you been doing?

I said, nothing. Where have you been? We haven't seen you.

Yeah, I haven't been doing anything. And so one of them said, hey man, we got some good pot. You want to get high? I said, no. They said, Lori, what's wrong with you? I said, there's nothing wrong with me. I don't want to do that. I don't want to do it. And I'm sitting there for a moment. And I really sent the Holy Spirit saying, tell them about Jesus.

And I'm saying, no way. I'm not telling anybody about anything. And I'm just trying to kind of keep it all inside. And all of a sudden the front door opens up and one of my friend's mom is there, the one who owned the home. And she's holding my Bible. And she says, who does this belong to? I'm thinking, what is wrong with this woman? She has kids doing drugs in her house at lunchtime and she's alarmed by a Bible? Who does this belong to, like it was some weapon or something?

Well, maybe it is, right? It's a sword of the Spirit. Every eye in the room went to the Bible and they went back to me. They made the connection. And I said, that's mine.

She said, that's mine. What is that, Lori? It's a Bible. What? It's a Bible.

What? It's a Bible. I grabbed it. And then one of my friends said, oh, Greg, praise the Lord. Are we going to be a Christian now? I said, no, I'm going to hit you in the mouth now. See, because I hadn't read 1 Corinthians 13, you see.

I hadn't read anything. I was trying to hide the Word of God. Well, since then I found it's much better to hide the Word of God in your heart, right?

Not in the bushes, preferably. And that was my first opportunity to share the gospel, which I failed miserably. But it was a reminder of the power of the Bible, the power of the Word of God. And we've talked about things that we did back in the days of the Jesus movement. We talked about how contemporary Christian worship was born before our eyes, and also how we love to talk about the soon coming of the Lord.

We talked about that recently. But one of the big things that was happening back in those days is almost everything we went to was a Bible study. Every service that we would have, we would open up the Word of God. And then there were home Bible studies, and Bible studies on high school campuses, and Bible studies on college campuses. We couldn't get enough of the Word of God. Let me quote for a moment from that Time Magazine article we were referring to a moment ago.

And I just would love to see something like this in time again, where they're talking about what was happening. And here's a direct quote. The Bible is true. Miracles happen. God really did so love the world.

He gave His only begotten Son. Bibles abound whether the cherished, fur-covered King James Version or scruffy back pocket paperbacks. They're invariably well thumbed and often memorized. So a real earmark of that last great spiritual awakening in America was the Bible.

Okay. So let's go over to Acts chapter 2. This is when the Holy Spirit is poured out on the day of Pentecost.

And people speak in unknown languages. They speak in tongues. And then what happens after that? Acts chapter 2 verse 16. Peter stands up and says, What you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel. In the last days God says, I'll pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream drinks. Very important statement. Here's an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Supernatural phenomena is taking place. And Peter stands up and says, This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel. And this makes a very important point. Everything that we do as Christians should be informed by the Word of God. There should be a biblical basis for what we do. So when we talk about making a decision or should we do this or should we do that, we go to the Scripture. What does the Bible say? Does the Scripture address this?

At least in principle, if not specifically. And so Peter was standing up and saying, This is the biblical basis. Sometimes in what some might call revival meetings or things where there's a lot of excitement, a lot of passion, sometimes things happen that frankly are not biblical. And people will say, This is a new work of the Holy Spirit. It's new. Listen to this. If it's new, it's not true.

And if it's true, it's not new. We don't need a new thing. We want to do a biblical thing. And when God pours His Spirit out we want to have a biblical basis for what we're saying and doing.

And that certainly is what happened there. But then what happened after the Holy Spirit was poured out, this is a very important thing. They began to dig into the Scripture.

We don't read. And after the Spirit was poured out they ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. And I bring this up because I have seen meetings, sometimes it's on Christian television, where people are screaming and writhing on the floor and yelling and making animal sounds. And people say, This is the Holy Spirit. I don't know what Holy Spirit it is. But I don't see anything like that in the Bible. By the way, have you ever seen a chicken get its head cut off?

I have. It happened to me when I was around five years old. And I was with my grandparents and we went out to the desert. They had a house there. No electricity. We had to go to the outhouse. You know what that is?

Okay. So and when we were going to have a meal my grandfather would chop the head of the chicken off and my grandmother would make chicken. So I am five years old and I am standing there. He takes his chicken. He puts it on a stump. He takes out a hatchet and he chops its head off. And the body rolls off and it is running around spurting blood and flapping. And the head is laying there on the stump.

And I am thinking, How does that body know where to go? It is almost like the head is going, Go right. Go right. Go straight. Go straight. Because the chicken without a head is coming straight at me. And I still have nightmares about it today.

I break out in a sweat when I go by Chick-fil-A. I am serious. It is horrible. No.

But the thing is that is how some people are. Oh this is the Holy Spirit. Let's just be crazy and insane.

No. God gave that power to the church for them to change the world. He gave them power to be a witness. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. 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 we're considering the central part God's Word plays in the life of the healthy believer. Pastor Greg continues his message, the Bible and revival, from his series Jesus Revolution. So what did the church do after the Spirit was poured out? Look at Acts 2 verse 42. They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship and the breaking of bread and in prayer. They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine. They dug into the Word of God. Listen if you want to be a Spirit-filled, revived Christian you need to be digging into God's Word each and every day.

Because if you don't you're going to fail spiritually. You know one thing that will happen if you go to visit your doctor. You're not feeling well. First thing you'll ask or she'll ask is how's your appetite.

Why? Because hungry people are healthy people. That's why I know I'm healthy right now because I'm still thinking about pizza and this is a problem. So that's a sign of health. So when you're a healthy Christian, when you're a spiritually revived Christian, when you are a Spirit-filled Christian you will desire God's Word in your life. So if to you reading the Bible is a drag, if it's a drudgery, if it's something you dread, if it's something you do in a token way that is not a good indication. I think a real indication of you being a Spirit-filled believer is that you are hungry for God's Word. You know when I don't eat I get kind of cranky.

My wife figured this out a number of years ago. I'll just be in a bad mood. I'm sort of snippy. She says, you're just hungry.

I'm not. I'm not hungry. No you're hungry. She'll throw a sandwich at me.

It works every time. I ketchup my mouth. No but you know that's how it can be. You know the reason you're not feeling that well, the reason you're kind of cranky, the reason you're kind of depressed, the reason you're lethargic is you need a meal.

And I don't just mean food. I'm talking about you need the Word of God. That's why you need to take time every day to open up God's Word and read what it has to say to you. The Word of God is powerful and I'm amazed at how I've read certain verses many many times over the years but how they'll just jump off the page and come alive for me.

Do you know what I'm talking about? That verse that just sent from heaven and it's just exactly what I needed to hear in the given moment. Well how's that going to happen if I don't open up the Bible?

I can't just hold it up to my head and pray it all just makes its way in there. I need to read it and I need to commit Scripture to memory. I memorized Scriptures when I was a 17 year old kid that I still remember today in my 30s times two. They're still with me those verses. Like Psalm 1. Blessed is the man that walks not on 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 Word of the Lord and in it does he meditate day and night. He'll be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. His leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper. Blessed is that man. I learned that so many years ago. It's still with me.

It still helps me. How about 1 Corinthians 10 13. There is no temptation taking you but such is as common to man but God who is faithful will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able but will with the temptation make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. I'm not doing this to impress you. You can do this.

We can all do this. Oh no I can't remember anything. Give me a break. You remember lines from films. You remember lyrics from the lamest songs of all time. You remember the scores of Super Bowl games going back forever. You remember all that trivia. Don't tell me you cannot remember the Word of God.

You just take time to get it into your mind and get it into your heart and that will never be time that is wasted. Alright well let's go over to our second passage. Psalm 19 and we will close with this. And this is just the Word of God telling us why the Word of God is important. And by the way these were originally songs.

They were set to melody. And this one even has a certain cadence to it that sounds a lot like a song. Psalm 19 verse 7. The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right rejoicing the heart. The commandments of the Lord are pure enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous all together. More to be desired are they than gold.

Yea then much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned and in keeping of them there is great reward.

That sounds like a song doesn't it? It is beautiful. It is beautiful poetry. But it is actually also the inspired Word of God.

So here is just a few take away thoughts. Number one the Word of God is perfect. When we say the law of the Lord we could replace it with the Word of the Lord or the Bible even. Because it is just referring to God's written Word. The Word of God is perfect because this phrase means that it is flawless.

It is without any flaw of any kind. Now this is important because we live in a time where things are constantly changing. Culture changes. Fashion changes.

Music changes. Everything is changing before our eyes. Something that is cool today will not be cool tomorrow. Trust me.

I have lived long enough to see all of these fads come and go. And all you have to do is look at your yearbook photo. Does anyone ever look good in a yearbook photo? You know I don't know if they do. But you look back and you think what was I thinking?

Why was I wearing that? Right. So these things change. And also in the news you know when you get a newspaper it is dated already. I mean a newspaper from this morning well things have happened this afternoon and they are happening right now because they get them on my news feed. And even despite that there is so much fake news out there. You don't know what to believe but here is the good news. In the Bible there is no fake news.

There is just good news that you can depend on. Because the Word of the Lord is perfect. And as you open up the Word of God it can be fresh to you each and every morning. The Bible says His mercies are new every morning.

The word perfect means it is whole, it is complete, and it is efficient. Listen everything you need to know about God is found in the Bible. You don't need to go anywhere else.

It is one stop shopping right here. This is God's message to each and every one of us. 2 Timothy 3 says all scripture is breathed by God. Pastor Greg Laurie with good insight today on a new beginning on the vital importance of God's Word in the life of the believer. And then we hope you are making plans to see Jesus Revolution.

Opening day for this film is February 24th. Jesus Revolution of course refers to the Jesus movement. And Pastor Greg you know that time quite well. You came to the Lord during that time.

Yes. You and Kathy fell in love during that time. The movie sort of walks us through that era. Yes, a very young Greg is in this film played by Joe Courtney. Beautiful job on his part in his acting.

It shows the story of young Greg with his mother Charlene played by Kimberly Williams Paisley. She was the bride and father of the bride. And she's an amazing actress. She did an incredible job playing my mother. This tragic figure.

This Marilyn Monroe look-alike who would hang around at bars and get picked up by men. And the sad life that we had together which sent me on a search as a young man. And it shows in a very honest and real way my search through drugs and other things trying to find meaning in my life. And I eventually come to hear the gospel. It's also a love story where I meet Kathy and the actress Anna Grace Barlow plays Kathy.

And it's she does such an amazing job. And so it's a love story and it's a story of how two very unlikely characters came together. Chuck Smith played by Kelsey Grammer. Again Lonnie Frisbee played by Jonathan Rumi.

It was like Nitro met glycerin and a spiritual explosion happened as a result. So hey I can't show you the film but why don't you listen for a moment. Here's a scene from the film where Chuck meets Lonnie for the first time. So Chuck said to his daughter they were watching television and all the crazy hippies and and he wanted nothing to do with them and thought they all needed to get a job and get a haircut.

But his wife Kay had a heart for reaching them. So Chuck says if God sends me a hippie I'll talk to him. So Chuck's daughter Jan runs into hippie evangelist Lonnie Frisbee and brings him home.

And so Chuck meets Lonnie for the first time and here's what happens. So uh tell me about yourself Lonnie and your uh people. My people.

I like the sound of that. You know it reminds me of the words of Jesus. To what then can I compare the people of this generation?

What are they like? I was up in San Francisco for a long time living in Haight-Ashbury on the streets all over and we did everything and everyone but that was the point. You see the drugs it's a quest. For what? For God.

How can you not see that? There is an entire generation right now searching for God. Man we thought acid was going to save the world. Thank you.

Thanks man. But that was a lie. As much of a lie as what we were rebelling against. And what brought you to that realization?

I kept searching and searching and I just finally got to the end of it. And there was still a void. And my people well they're a desperate bunch. And desperation. Man there's power in that word. What would it take for you Chuck Smith to be desperate? Jeanette tells me you're a pastor. Yes.

Currently. I know we must seem pretty strange. But if you look a little deeper. If you look with love you'll see a bunch of kids that are searching for all the right things. Just in all the wrong places. So to answer your question. How do I describe my people? They're sheep without a shepherd.

Chasing hard after lies. And the trouble is your people reject them. So I ask you pastor. How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? We can only walk through doors open to us. In your church.

Well. That's a door that's shut. That's a scene from Jesus Revolution.

Chuck Smith played by actor Kelsey Grammer and Lonnie Frisbee played by actor Jonathan Rumi. It's a movie you don't want to miss. February 24th is the official release of Jesus Revolution. Begin making plans now to bring someone with you to see this film. And by the way there will be a special national preview showing February 22nd two days earlier. It features special bonus content including an easy to understand presentation of the gospel by Pastor Greg. To get tickets to this special preview February 22nd go to jesusrevolution.movie.

Now that's dot movie not dot com. Again jesusrevolution.movie. And thanks so much for partnering with us as we share the gospel in this innovative way. You partner with us as you support the film at your local theater. And you partner with us when you send a donation to support sharing the gospel. In fact to thank you for your generosity right now we want to send you the book that tells the story in more depth.

It's also called Jesus Revolution. We'll send you the book to thank you for your investment. So get in touch today. Our 24-7 phone number is 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. And one other thing if we may. You may be familiar with 2nd chronicle 714 which says, If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Well Pastor Greg is asking us all to follow that biblical direction to humble ourselves and pray each day for revival in the church and a spiritual awakening in the culture.

It's our 714 campaign. Would you pray with us each day at 714? At 14 minutes after 7 we're all praying for revival and praying that the movie Jesus Revolution would help light the fire. Thanks for joining us in that. Well next time more about the importance of God's word and memorizing key passages as a part of our spiritual growth plan. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. And click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 05:08:26 / 2023-02-22 05:19:11 / 11

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