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Things to Do Before the End of the World w/ Don Stewart | Part 2

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2023 3:00 am

Things to Do Before the End of the World w/ Don Stewart | Part 2

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 14, 2023 3:00 am

If we knew exactly when Jesus was returning, most of us would make sure we’re ready. We’d drop everything and GET ready. Well, it’s important to know just how soon Jesus could return. In this case, what we don’t know can impact us for eternity. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us trustworthy insight straight from God’s Word on what we can expect during the Rapture, and just how close we may be to that event. 

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.

Support the show: https://harvest.org/support

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We're glad you're joining us for a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Holy Bible Prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes.

We should be looking up. We can have the Bible in one hand and a news feed on our phone in the other. And Jesus said when you see these things begin to happen, look up for your redemption is drawing near. If we knew exactly when Jesus was returning, most of us would make sure we're ready.

We'd drop everything and get ready. Well, it's important to know just how soon Jesus could return. In this case, what we don't know can impact us for eternity. Why don't you grab your Bibles and turn with me over to the Gospel of Luke, the 12th chapter.

The title of my message is Things to Do Before the End of the World. Alright, so let's just imagine for a moment that Jesus was coming. Now we know that can't be true, right? Because nobody knows. Only the Father knows.

But let's just say for the sake of an illustration, we knew. Let's say we knew that Jesus was coming back tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock p.m. How do you think we'd be doing spiritually around 2.45? I think we'd be doing pretty well. I think we'd have our Sunday morning smiles and our come quickly Jesus attitude.

Right? Because why? Well, because Jesus would be coming. But we should literally live every day as though it were that day. Someone once asked the great evangelist, D.L. Moody, if you knew the Lord would return tonight, how would you spend the rest of the day?

He replied without hesitation, I wouldn't do anything different than I do every day. Get it? So why does this matter? Jesus gives us the answer in Luke 12.

I want to read verses 36 to 40 and I'm reading from the New Living Translation. So we'll stop there. So now we're talking about first century Jewish weddings. They were way different than our weddings today. We spent so much on weddings. I was Googling prices of weddings. It's crazy how much you can spend on a wedding.

15,000, 30,000, 100,000. I was reading about celebrities that spent millions of dollars on their weddings and sadly most of them had already ended up in divorce court. Kathy and I spent $15 on our wedding. It was like a literal hippie wedding. Everybody just came, showed up and we did it but hey, it worked 45 years later.

So we're thankful to God. Okay, weddings back in the days of the Jewish people in the first century were very different. It was sort of an event. It was an extended time of celebration and fun. So everybody would be there. Everybody would be ready.

They'd have a great feast. But here was the twist. You didn't know when the groom was coming. So he might come in the morning. He might come in the afternoon. He might come in the evening. An announcement would be given. The bridegroom is coming and if you weren't ready, you would miss it.

Snooze and you lose, right? So this is the picture Jesus is drawing upon. He's like that groom and he's gonna come and we don't know when it's gonna be. It might be in the morning when that morning finally comes. It might be in the afternoon.

It might be in the evening. It might be in our lifetime. It might not be but we want to be ready.

So here's point number one. What should we be doing before the end of the world? Number one, we should be shining lights in a dark place. We should be shining lights in a dark place.

Verse 35. Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning. It's important for us to let our light so shine before men that people can see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. So you want to be living in a way that brings honor and glory to God.

You know sometimes they feel as Christians we're more known for what we're against than what we're for. Look for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to people. Simple things. Open a door for somebody. Say something nice to somebody. Throw out a compliment. But do it in the name of Jesus. Say well God bless you. And you know and they'll see that you're a follower of Christ.

And sometimes those can prompt and open doors for conversation. So we're to be bright lights in a dark place. Number two, we're to be watching for Him.

Watching for Him. Look at verse 37. Blessed are those servants whom the Master when He comes will find watching. So when we see the things happening in our world as we do now. Literally Bible prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. We should be looking up. We can have the Bible in one hand and a newspaper or a newsfeed on our phone in the other.

And Jesus said when you see these things begin to happen look up for your redemption is drawing near. Number three, you need to be ready to go. Ready to go. Now when I go on a trip I pack. And I'll tell you what I am the worst packer. I just pack too much stuff.

It's ridiculous. When I show up with more luggage than my wife and I'm not saying that. In a critical way of girls but generally girls maybe sometimes take more stuff than guys.

Not in our marriage. I take more stuff because I just well I may need this and I may need that. Oh I need a charger. Well I'll have an extra charger. And I'll have this other thing and then Kathy will say why do you take all that stuff? But then when we get there she forgot her charger. I forgot my phone charger.

Oh look I have another one. Aren't you glad I'm the little pack rat now right? But I get everything packed before I go. Then you load it up and you go down to the airport and you get on your flight or however you are going to be traveling.

So the idea is be ready to go at a moment's notice. Have your bags packed and have your comfortable shoes on. You know when I travel I wear comfortable shoes because sometimes they change terminals and now you have to rush. And you know what this is like you guys that travel. If you have a roller bag you are running along.

You know I need comfortable shoes. So the idea is be ready to go at a moment's notice because the Lord could come back at any time. So are you ready? Here is something to consider. Ask yourself a question about things that you do. This place I am about to go. This thing I am ready to do. Would I be ashamed of this or be embarrassed doing this if Christ were to come back while I was doing it?

If the answer is yes I think you should reconsider that thing. I already quoted from 2 Peter 3 in another message on why the Lord has not come back yet. Because it says God is not slow in keeping His promises as some men count slowness. He is longsuffering toward us. Not only that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. So the reason the Lord is waiting is He is waiting for that person to believe.

That last person before we are caught up to meet Him. But then those verses in 2 Peter go on and say the day will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear.

The elements will be destroyed by fire. Listen to this. What kind of people then should you be? You ought to live holy and godly lives. Look forward to this and make every effort to be found spotless and blameless and at peace with Him.

So if you really believe these things it should affect you in the way that you live. Number four we should not only be ready but we should be anxiously awaiting His return. Looking forward to it. Open it up. Dog falls in you know. So He would just wait against the door. Waiting for us to get up. And when I opened that door in the morning He was so excited. Running around in circles you know. Happy days are here again.

Because He wanted to go on a walk and all the things dogs like to do. So I thought that is a picture of how we ought to be. We should just be up against the door like Lord come. Like let's just say someone you really loved was coming to visit you and you hadn't seen them for a year.

So they text you. The plane just landed. Ok we are in the Uber. We are on our way over. Ok we are in the neighborhood. Ok we are one block away. We are almost at your house.

Yes yes yes. And then you see the car pull up and you have your hand on the door and you can't even wait for them to come up the steps. That is how we need to be waiting for Jesus Christ. Looking forward to it. Anticipating it and hoping for it. We should not only be anxiously waiting we should also be working. Look at verse 43. So doing when He comes.

So doing. The Bible says faith without works is dead. So if watching for the Lord's return will help us prepare our own lives working will assure we bring others with us. And notice the word blessed is used. Blessed is the servant whom the master will find so doing. As you know the word blessed can also be translated happy. Happy is the servant. Happy is the man. Happy is the woman.

Who is anxiously awaiting the Lord's return and is serving Him. in your life. And if you have a personal relationship with Jesus there's nothing better than that. I mean your days are full of joy.

You have peace of mind and there's just nothing better than that. I was addicted to cocaine for so many years and struggled with the flesh. I mean I hate it. I tried so many times to quit. I just asked the Lord to make me hate it. And finally He did. I just got so sick of it He took it away. And I have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

There's nothing better than that. I absolutely love listening to Pastor Greg's messages every night while I'm on the road. And I just wanted to call and let him know that. So God bless you and thank you so much. Well today Pastor Greg is helping us be ready for the Lord's return. We're seeing the Bible gives practical counsel on being ready as we look at the kind of people who are ready and the kind of people who aren't. In contrast to the believer who's watching and working now we have the unprepared servant. Go back to Luke 12 verse 45. But if that servant says in his heart oh my master is delaying his coming and begins to beat the male and female servants and to eat and drink and be drunk the master of that servant will come in a day when he is not looking for him. So this is a picture of a person who would appear to be a believer but in reality they are not. Why do I say that? It's that servant. So they look like one of us. Jesus told the story of the 10 bridesmaids.

Remember? Five were wise, five were foolish and the King James are called the 10 virgins. The ones that were wise had oil in their lamps. Back to the lamp. And the ones that were not ready did not have oil in their lamps.

So the idea is in the last days according to Scripture there's going to be people that are Christians right next to people that aren't Christians and the people that aren't Christians will initially appear as though they are Christians. So we have to be very careful. Just hearing these things is not enough.

We need to act on these things as well. Going to church, hearing the Word of God, singing these wonderful songs of worship, it's a great thing to do if you really have a relationship with God. But if you do these things and have no intention of following the Lord or you're kind of pretending to be a Christian, you're actually in danger of hardening your heart. You want to know the easiest place to get a hard heart? Yeah, a strip club.

A bar. Yeah, you could get a hard heart there. But the easiest place to get a hard heart is right where you are right now.

You say I'm not getting this at all. I thought church was the best place to be. It's the best place to be if you want to walk with God. But the same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. The same message that will set one person free can be ignored by another and they'll actually find their heart getting harder. Don't let that happen to you. The Pharaoh of Egypt saw miracle after miracle and the Bible says he hardened his heart. He hardened his heart. So you can hear these things and go, oh, that's stupid.

I don't really believe it but, you know, I'm here anyway. Man, be careful because you don't want to be like this person that is not prepared. Notice what it says about this wicked servant, verse 45. That servant says my master won't be back for a while, begins beating the other servants, partying and getting drunk. You know, people get drunk for a lot of reasons.

Sometimes to escape their problems. Other things that pull them in. But I just read an interesting article about how drinking heavily can actually change your DNA. This article says, and I quote, alcohol can actually prompt dangerous and long lasting genetic changes according to cutting edge research from Rutgers University. And these changes actually worsen a drinker's relationship with booze by causing them to crave it even more. Drinking disrupts the natural effectiveness of two specific genes.

One that governs the body's biological clock and the other that regulates stress and this contributes to the vicious cycle of alcoholism. This article concluded by pointing out drinking contributes to three million deaths a year. It's interesting that Jesus actually talks about someone getting drunk. You know, I've come to an amazing discovery. If I don't drink, I won't get drunk.

Go figure. I've never met a drunk person that didn't drink. So if I don't drink, I won't get drunk. I remember once I was pulled over for a DUI.

Let me explain. It was actually New Year's Eve. I was driving back from a service we had done at church and it was nighttime and I got pulled over by a cop. And so I thought, why is he pulling me over? And he says, and he has the loudspeaker. He says, keep your hands on the steering wheel.

I got my hands on the wheel. And he comes around with a flashlight. You know, and they shine the flashlight right in your eyes. And that's just really irritating.

It makes you very nervous. He says, get out of the car. I get out of the car. And he says, what have you been drinking?

I said, a bottle of water, officer. And he goes, uh huh. And he pulls out a pencil. And now he says, watch, follow this with your eyes. He's going back and forth with a pencil. And he says, now I want you to walk a straight line. I'm thinking, I can't believe this is happening to me.

Someone's going to drive by and say, isn't that Pastor Craig there? And I had not been drinking anything. And I don't drink. But I was so nervous. It was hard.

The line was hard. I'm like, hey, hey. You know, I did it. Well, he finally let me go. I don't know why he pulled me over in the first place.

It was crazy. But the sad thing is there are people driving under the influence. Far too often we hear the story of the family killed by the drunk driver. They all die and the drunk survives it. They're so liquored up, they're just, whatever.

It's horrible. And I've seen alcohol destroy so many lives. And it's kind of personal for me. And I'll tell you why. Because I was raised in an alcoholic home. And I saw what it did to my mom. And I saw what it did to her marriages.

And I saw the destruction. And you know, you don't need to be filled with the spirits. You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That's what the Bible says.

And it's far better. The Bible says don't be drunk with wine because that will ruin your life. But instead let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. So in conclusion, Jesus is coming. So we need to be ready.

How? Number one, be a shining light in a dark place. Number two, be watching for Him. Number three, be ready to go. Number four, not only be ready, be anxiously awaiting His return.

And fifth and lastly, don't just be anxiously waiting, but also be working. Coming back to that verse I quoted in 2 Peter 3, make every effort to be found spotless and blameless and at peace with Him. Let me ask you, are you ready for the Lord's return? You might say, well does that mean I have to live a perfect life?

No, because no one does. We all sin. But we need to be right with God. The only way to have the peace of God in our life is to first have peace with God. See believe it or not before you're a Christian you're actually at war with God. You're fighting with God. You're separated from God by your sin.

But God loved you so much despite your rebellion. He sent His own Son Jesus to die on a cross in your place and my place and He suffered there for my sins. And then He rose again from the dead three days later and He's alive and He's here with us and He stands at the door of your life and He knocks and says if you'll hear His voice and open the door, He will come in. Jesus died. Jesus rose. Jesus is coming back again. And I ask you in closing, are you ready for the Lord's return?

And if you aren't, would you like to be? When that morning finally comes, everyone will be there if they're Christians. So you say well how do I get right with God? You admit you're a sinner and you realize that your only hope is Jesus. You need a Savior. You call out. It'd just be like if you're out in the water and you've got caught in a riptide and you can't get back to the shore. What do you do? You call out for help.

Well that's embarrassing. Well it's better than drowning isn't it? So call out. So in the same way we have to see our real condition and call out to God and the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

So in a moment we're going to pray and I'm going to give you an opportunity to reach out to God. You know maybe you are struggling with alcohol. Maybe you're struggling with drugs. Maybe it's none of those things at all but you've chased after everything this world says will make you happy.

And you have a lot of those things. Maybe you've even surpassed your expectations but you've seen how empty it is. That's because you were made to know God. And there's like a big hole in your heart that only Christ can fill. Drugs can't fill it. Booze can't fill it. Parties can't fill it. Sex can't fill it. Material things can't fill it.

Even religion can't fill it. You don't need religion. You need a relationship with God.

It can happen for you right here right now. And once you do that you can be confident you're ready for the Lord's return. So in a moment we're going to pray.

Respond to this invitation. And also if you're someone that's fallen away from the Lord and maybe you need to come back because you've been sort of playing a little bit of a religious game. You're not fooling God. You can fool all of the people some of the time. You can fool some of the people all of the time. But you can't fool God any of the time.

Don't play that game anymore. Why don't we all bow our heads and pray. Everybody praying. Father I pray that your Holy Spirit will speak now to every person here.

Every person watching and every person listening wherever they are. If they don't know Jesus we pray that tonight will be the night they come to you and believe in you. And that they can be forgiven of their sins and be ready for the afterlife. Ready to go to heaven and ready for the return of Jesus.

So help each one to see their need. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. And if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with God, Pastor Greg will help you take that step in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. And then we hope you're making plans to see Jesus Revolution, the brand new movie from Pastor Greg and the Irwin brothers of Kingdom Story Company.

It's a compelling look at the time of the Jesus movement of the late 60s and early 70s and how the chaos and uncertainty of the era prepared the way for spiritual renewal. Things were really bad. The Vietnam War was still raging. Young men were coming back in body bags. There were riots in the streets, racial tension at an all time high. The country seemed to be coming apart at the scene.

Think for yourself and question authority. Get as high as you possibly can. Turn on, tune in and drop out. It was a hopeless time for many. I could be in the middle of a crowd until so long. Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa reached so many. They're lost.

They need the Lord. One of those young people who found the Lord was a teenager named Greg Laurie. And I walked into this church crammed full of people. They were in the pews, sitting on the floor, standing on the sides. The place was overflowing.

And I was overwhelmed by it all, to be honest with you. Pastor Greg came to Christ during the Jesus movement. And his experiences are the thread that runs through the new feature film, Jesus Revolution.

It's coming out soon. Pastor Greg, what do you think will surprise people the most when they see Jesus Revolution? Okay, I think they're going to be surprised at how gritty and realistic it is. We don't pull our punches. We show the emptiness of bad choices, including drugs.

We show the search of a generation. Number two, I think they'll be surprised at how funny the film is at times. It's huge laughs in certain moments of the film.

Very enjoyable. I think they'll be moved very emotionally. I think they'll shed a tear or two when they watch certain scenes from this film. But then the last thing I would say is they'll be surprised at how much gospel is in it. Like how the gospel is there in the story. And there's even a moment where Greg and this hippie evangelist named Lonnie Frisbee pray together. And I believe when that scene is played in the theaters, that there will be people praying that prayer along with Greg. So there's a lot of twists and turns in this film that surprise people.

But I've had so many people say they just loved it. And John Irwin, who's made many incredible films, Woodlawn, American Underdog, I Still Believe, I Can Only Imagine, says hands down this is the best film I've ever made. It's the most important film I've ever made. Every film I've made has been leading to this film.

So I really think you need to get out there and see this film in the theater. And you know what? Take someone with you. It's a great shared experience with someone you care about. Take someone with you that does not yet know the Lord.

I think you could have an incredible conversation after and you might even find that person open to giving their life to Jesus. Yeah, that's right. And that's what it's all about. Well, mark the date. February 24th is the official release of Jesus Revolution. It's a moving evangelistic story wrapped in a great motion picture.

And by the way, there will be a special national preview showing February 22nd, two days earlier. It will feature special bonus content, including an easy-to-understand presentation of the gospel by Pastor Greg. So make plans to bring someone who needs the Lord. That's what we're all about, sharing the hope of Christ with those who need that hope. To get tickets to this special preview, February 22nd, go to jesusrevolution.movie.

Now that's.movie, not.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. Again, 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. And then one other thing. As you know, 2 Chronicles 7 14 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 do just that, to humble ourselves and pray each day. At 7 14 each day, we're committing to praying for revival among believers and a spiritual awakening in the culture.

And we're asking God to use Jesus Revolution as the catalyst. Will you join us in this? Commit to praying with us each day at 7 14.

Thanks so much. Pastor Greg, a few moments ago you spoke of the need to get our hearts right with God. Could you help someone who wants to do that very thing right now?

Yes, I'd be delighted to. Listen, as you've listened to this program today, maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing, I need to do this personally, but how do I do it and what do I do? Let me help you. It's very simple.

In fact, it's so simple you may be shocked. God, this relationship with him is just a prayer away. The Bible says if you will call upon the name of the Lord, you'll be saved. So I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that. You call on the name of the Lord. This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Jesus, I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In your name I pray. Amen. I know it's such a simple, short prayer, but you just called on the name of the Lord and you know what?

He died, he heard that prayer, and if you meant that prayer in your heart, he answered that prayer. Now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in Jesus Christ. The greatest adventure awaits you, the life of walking with God. I want to send you what we call a New Believer's Growth Path that includes the New Believer's Bible and a whole lot more.

And let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. And to get that free New Believer's Growth Pack, just ask for it if you prayed along with Pastor Greg to receive Christ today. We'll be glad to send one your way. Call us at 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime, night or day, 1-800-821-3300. Write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Well next time, more insights from Pastor Greg's series called Jesus Revolution. We'll consider more steps to revival, including the importance of reading, understanding, and following what God's Word says. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others, or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 03:53:20 / 2023-02-22 04:06:07 / 13

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