Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.
If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Amen. Good morning. Let's pray together. Father, that is our prayer today that you, the God of Revival, will pour out your Spirit. You've told us in Scripture in the last days, you will pour out your Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.
Your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions. Lord, we're praying you will pour your Spirit out on us, right here, right now, as we open your word. Speak to us, we pray. In Jesus' name we ask this. Amen. You can all be seated. Hello. Hello to Harvest Riverside.
You guys watching online as well. Welcome to church. Well, the Jesus Revolution. The Christian movie had a big opening, a big opening. It surpassed all expectations.
Check this out. Over 1,800,000 people have already seen this film. And it's just getting started.
Momentum is building. You know, so many people say that they love it. They feel like they're having this spiritual experience. Watching this movie, their words, not mine. Old people are remembering their past.
Young people are dreaming about the future. You know, Lord, do it again. We're saying. I've heard so many people comment. Go ahead and applaud. Get it out of your system.
There you go. I've heard so many people. I read my social media comments and everyone almost seems to be reading from the same script, but I think they're having the same experience. We laughed.
We cried. You know, they're moved emotionally by this film. There's been some great reviews that have come in as well.
One reviewer, Richard Probst from The Independent Critic, reviewed Jesus Revolution this way. What a great summation of the film. There is something called CinemaScore. And all the people in the film industry look to CinemaScore. They want a high rating from them because their rating is based on the response of audiences. And CinemaScore gave Jesus Revolution the highest rating possible, A plus on CinemaScore. Everyone's got an A plus this year, including Top Gun, so I think that's pretty good, right? Also, we got a 99% approval on Rotten Tomatoes for the public. That's all I care about. That's all I care about. Critics, come on.
You know, they're mixed. Some great reviews. Some, oh, they don't like this or that.
I don't care. The public likes it. The people like it.
That's who it's for, right? So, on Wednesday night, the film opened, and it was sort of a sneak preview, and there was a presentation of the gospel that I did that followed the film. And we had amazing response to that. I had people say, we were in a theater somewhere else in the country. They said people were praying out loud in their seats. One person told me that they were there with some friends, and after the film, they noticed a bunch of college kids were just sort of standing around talking amongst themselves. And they heard the kids saying, well, how do you do this? Do you pray some prayer?
Do you have to get dunked in the ocean? So, these people engaged these kids and began to talk to them about the Lord and what it all meant, and they ended up leading all of these kids to the Lord right there in the movie theater. One person wrote me and said people spontaneously applauded after the film. How often do people applaud in a theater after a film?
Not very often. And then he said, and the friend we brought prayed with us outside in the car to receive Christ. Another man shared his story of how he was there at the theater, and there was a guy standing alone after he had seen it, and this Christian walked up to him and said, do you understand what this movie was about? And the man said, well, sort of, and he says, well, are you a believer? And the man said, no. And then the Christian asked him, what's holding you back? He said, I don't know. Kind of what Greg said in the movie, because that's what Greg, my character, says. And he led that guy to the Lord right there. So, here's my point. This movie, Jesus Revolution, is a gift from God to us, and it's a powerful tool.
I've never known of a tool like this before that's available on such a broad scale. Some people have said, well, I wish you could have your message attached to every showing of the film. Well, I'm amazed it was put there at all. Lionsgate, a major film studio, agreed to it on Wednesday night, but only Wednesday night, so that's where you come in. Folks, this is called low-hanging fruit, okay?
This is easy. All you have to do is take a non-believer to a theater. Let them watch the film. I think that the film does most of the heavy lifting. Now, your part is to step in and say, are you interested in this?
Would you like to ask Christ to come into your life? Literally, you could go to a theater. One person said they're gonna do this. They're gonna go to the theater and just look for opportunities to share the gospel after the movie is over.
You can do that in the theater or outside of the theater, but I think this is a powerful tool. Think of Jesus Revolution as a crusade happening every night across the country for the next six weeks. So wherever you have relatives, wherever you have friends, wherever you know someone, this movie is showing.
Now, because it's done so well, they're gonna add more screens, and it's gonna be even more widely available. Okay, so this is the biggest opportunity for evangelism in decades, so let's take full advantage of it, and let's see what the Lord will do. Hey, also, I don't know if you've seen the Jesus Revolution NASCAR.
Do we have a picture of that anywhere? So this has actually been created, this car, and this car's gonna race today in Fontana. It's gonna be driven by Jeffrey Earnhardt, who was at Church First Service in Riverside, and we prayed for him, and we prayed God would keep him safe, and we did pray he would win. Is that wrong?
Is that wrong? We did. We prayed anyway, so we'll see what the Lord does. So let's pray for that, and let's pray for our message as we open God's word. Father, speak to us now from your word. Your word is truth, and we pray that we will understand more about you and how you want us to live in this world we're in today. We ask all of this in Jesus' name, amen. All right, we're starting a brand new series today, The Seven Signs of Jesus is the title. The title of this message is The Best is Yet to Come, and our text is John chapter two.
In fact, all of our messages will be from the gospel of John. So imagine for a moment a world without signs. No signage. I mean, signs help us do so many things. Start with the men's bathroom and the women's bathroom, right? We know which one to go to. Some people want to go to both. That's not a good idea.
Stay in your lane and in your gender. But anyway, the signs, I'll get off on this off-ramp. A sign shows me where my product is or what it is I'm shopping for in the supermarket, what aisle it's in. We really need signs to get around in life, and sometimes advertisers create products in America, try to market their products overseas, but there can be a problem with translation. For instance, in Italy, there was a campaign for Schweppes tonic water, but there was a breakdown in communication, and they wondered why it wasn't selling because it translated out over in Italy. Instead of Schweppes tonic water, it was Schweppes toilet water. Want a cup of toilet water? The dog might be excited about that.
In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan, come alive with the Pepsi generation, translated out to Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead. Pretty bold promise. They weren't able to deliver on that one. Clairol marketed its mist stick, mist stick, a curling iron, but instead it wasn't selling.
They thought, what's the problem? They marketed it in Germany, and instead of being called the mist stick, it translated in German to manure stick. Nothing like that old manure stick going through the hair, right? In China, they were marketing Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the slogan is finger licking good, right? Instead, that translated out to Kentucky Fried Chicken, eat your fingers off.
Not a good idea. Gives new meaning to finger sandwiches, though, doesn't it? Now, here are some other signs. These are real signs overseas that don't make sense. Bottled water. That kind of looks like a can to me, so something's wrong here. This one's frightening.
Execution and process. I wouldn't want to watch that for sure. Trip and fall down carefully. Be careful of caution. Just be careful of caution in general. Look at this one. Jump off the cliff. I don't know if this is safe here.
Jump off the cliff, the sign says. I like this one. We speak English. Look how they spelled speak.
Maybe they speak English, but they don't. This is a good one. Danger ahead, fasten seat belts, and remove dentures. So these are real signs, so signs can get confusing. Have you ever asked God for a sign?
Have you ever said, Lord, if you want me to do this, send me a sign? You know, people came to Jesus and said, do a sign for us. Do a miracle for us.
Impress us. Prove to us that you are the Messiah. Jesus said, no sign will be given but that of the prophet Jonah, and as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so will the Son of Man, referring to himself, be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Basically, he's talking about his crucifixion. Allow me to loosely paraphrase the statement of our Lord. Hey, you guys want a sign?
Here it is. I'm going to die on a cross for the sin of the world, and I'm going to rise again from the dead. That's your sign.
Take it or leave it. Oh, we say, oh, I need something that will convince me. It's like that scene from the Jesus Revolution film. And Chuck's in this front room with his wife, Kay, and they're watching the TV and all the crazy kids, you know, who are flipping out and wasting their lives. And his wife's concerned, and his daughter Jan says, I think it's kind of good what they're doing. You know, they want love.
Isn't that what you want? And he says, I think they need to, you know, get a job and cut their hair. And she goes, well, Dad, you've never even talked to a hippie. He says, if God sends me a hippie, I'll ask him what it's all about. Then Lonnie Frisbee comes into his house, played by Jonathan Rumi, and there his little request was answered.
And then he said to his daughter, but I didn't mean it, right? God, if you'll prove this to me, and maybe the Lord does something to convince you it's true, but maybe we don't like that sign. Jesus fed the 5,000. And immediately on the heels of that dramatic miracle, 5,000 people got a free lunch, plus women and children.
People come to him and say, well, what sign do you perform so we may believe in you? Uh, excuse me? Is your stomach not full? Did I not feed you a delicious meal with leftovers even? See, they didn't like the sign. Sometimes they'll say, well, convince me.
Well, I don't like what you're saying, because you really don't want to change at all. So, as I said, this is a new series that we're calling The Seven Signs of Jesus. They're all found on the Gospel of John. John is the author of a gospel that is unique from all of the other gospels.
You don't find the nativity story in John's gospel, nor do you find the temptation of Christ by Satan, nor is the Sermon on the Mount or the Olivet Discourse there. However, all of the great I Am statements of Christ are found uniquely in John's gospel, where Jesus says, I am the bread of life, John 6. I am the light of the world, John 8. I am the door of the sheep, John 10. I am the good shepherd, again, John 10. I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die, John 11, 25. And probably the most well-known I Am statement of Christ.
I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me, John 14, 6. So John uses these signs like building blocks. The seven signs crescendo to the final, and seventh sign, which is the resurrection of Lazarus. So this is a journey that begins with a wedding, and it ends with a funeral. I almost titled my message Three Miracles, a Wedding, and a Funeral.
It seems like that's been used in some way before by a movie. So what is Jesus doing? He's preparing them for the ultimate sign.
And what is the ultimate sign? Again, it's his death and resurrection from the dead. So here now we see the first miracle of Jesus, a miracle that effectively says God saves the best for last. Let's read John chapter 2. I'm gonna read verses 1 to 11. Read along with me.
And I'm reading from the New Living Translation. How many of you brought your Bible? Raise your hand. How many of you are reading your Bible from a device of some kind? Raise your hand. That's good.
As long as you're reading along. So here we go. John 2 verse 1. The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. And Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities. So Jesus' mother told them they have no more wine. Dear woman, that's not our problem, Jesus replied.
My time has not yet come. But his mother told the servants, do whatever he tells you. Standing nearby were six water jars used for Jewish ceremonial washing.
Each could hold 20 to 30 gallons. Jesus told the servants, fill all of the jars with water. When the jars had been filled, he said, now dip some out and take it to the master of ceremonies.
So the servants followed his instructions. When the master of ceremonies tasted the water, there was now wine. Not knowing where it had come from, though of course the servants knew, he called the bridegroom over and said, a host always serves the best wine first, he said. But then when everyone has a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine.
But you have kept the best until now. This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him. So this is the first miracle performed by Jesus.
And where did it happen? It happened at a wedding. And he was enjoying himself at the wedding. Did you know it's okay for a Christian to enjoy life? Did you know it's okay for a Christian to walk into an environment where non-believers are present and be a pleasant person, a nice person, a fun person to be around?
Jesus was just there enjoying himself with his disciples. And so, you know, when I first became a Christian, I didn't know what to expect. You know, all my life I've been a prankster and a joker and I was a cartoonist and I was always making fun of things and making fun of people. And I become a Christian. I think, well, that's the end of that. No more jokes.
Now I will be a very pious person and never laugh again, I guess. I didn't know. So I went to a summer camp sponsored by Calvary Chapel and Chuck Smith was there. So I'm really new in the faith.
I'm only a few weeks old as a believer. And there's Pastor Chuck, who to me was like one of the apostles. I mean, there he is. I'm right next to Pastor Chuck. And so I'm sitting there at the table. He says, would you like some more punch? I said, yes, Pastor Chuck. And I hold my cup up and Chuck's pouring the punch into my cup. It's like fourth full, half full. I'm thinking, Pastor Chuck's pouring my punch.
This is so amazing. I can't believe it. It's almost full. Now it's full. He's still pouring. Now it's overflowing, overflowing. It's going on the table. It's going to my arm.
I'm like, this is a spiritual message. My cup runneth over. I heard that somewhere. And Chuck starts laughing. And it occurs to me, Chuck is goofing off.
Wait, what? It was like a revelation. Are you telling me that I can still have fun as a Christian?
Yes, in so many words, he was telling me that. And I think sometimes as Christians, we walk into an environment and we make it unnecessarily awkward. I have to tell you, when people find out you're a Christian, it can sort of change the temperature. You ought to see what happens when you tell them you're a pastor. It's like you're talking, hey, what do you do, Greg? I'm a pastor.
Everyone takes one step back. Did you say a telemarketer? No, a pastor. Did he say ax murderer? No, I said a pastor.
I don't buy. And then someone who's probably been using profanity will say, oh, well, pardon my French, Reverend. Oh, is that what that was, French? I didn't know the French used those words you were just using.
Guess what? I don't expect nonbelievers to behave like believers. However, I do expect believers to behave as believers. When I'm around a nonbeliever and they use a word that's maybe off color or whatever it is, I see it for what it is, and my objective there is I'm trying to build a bridge. I'm trying to find common ground with that person so I can share my faith. Someone said, well, that's compromise. Oh, really? Then Jesus Christ was a compromiser. Clearly, that's not the case. But Jesus entered into the worlds of nonbelievers.
Wherever we go, we see engaging people. The woman at the well, everyone knew of her immorality. But there's Jesus all alone with her, waiting for her to draw water so he can talk to her about her life. How about Zacchaeus? Nobody wanted to hang out with Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector.
He took advantage of people. Jesus comes into his town of Jericho, sees Zacchaeus up in a tree watching. Hey, buddy, come on down.
I'm having lunch at your house today. Nicodemus, so many others. He's engaging them, trying to reach them. That's not compromise. It's called evangelism.
Listen to this. If you want to win some, be winsome. Does that make sense? If you want to win some, to Christ, be winsome. Colossians 4 and 5 says, live wisely among those that are not Christians.
Make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so we will have the right answer for everyone. Far too often as Christians, we're known for what we're against. I'm against this.
I disagree with that. We get off on these other conversations instead of looking for ways to talk about Jesus. That's our message. That was what was happening in the Jesus movement.
That's what needs to happen today. We need to be, as I've said before, Jesus people. We're told to engage people in this way. I love how Jesus did that. The apostle Paul summed it up this way in 1 Corinthians 9-20. I want to become all things to all men. So when I'm with the Jews, I become one of them so I can bring them to Christ. When I'm with the Gentiles who do not have the Jewish law, or we could translate that as when I'm with non-believers who don't live by God's word, he goes on to say, I fit in with them as much as I can. Now, you don't want to compromise your standards. You don't want to be the person with the punchline to the dirty joke. You don't want to be the person that's doing things you shouldn't do, but yet in that space you're in, you want to build that bridge instead of burn it.
Paul continues on. If someone's oppressed, I share their oppression so I can bring them to Christ. And then he sums it up this way.
Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so I might bring them to Christ. This is how I share the good news. So here's Jesus at a wedding having a good time. And why was he at the wedding? Because he was invited.
Someone said, hey, Jesus, would you like to come to the wedding? Sure. Can I bring my friends? How many friends do you have? Twelve.
Okay, that's a lot of friends, but come on. So there's Jesus with his disciples. He was invited. And he's at every wedding where he is invited. And he's in every marriage where he is invited. Let's remember it was God who designed and created marriage to begin with. So if you want your marriage to be blessed and happy, invite Jesus in.
Now understanding what's going on culturally. Weddings were different in these days than they are today. A wedding celebration could last for upwards of a week. You would stay in the home of the bride and groom, and relatives and friends would show up, and it was sort of like a honeymoon, family reunion, bachelor party, wedding shower, all rolled into one. And so it went on.
It was a big celebration, a wonderful time. And it just reminds us that marriage is important. You know, some people say, well, it's just a piece of paper. You don't have to be married. We live together, and it's sort of a trial run for marriage.
Well, it's more than a piece of paper. It's a commitment you make to God and in front of other people, and it's a lifetime commitment. And I would also add, if you want to sabotage a future marriage, live together before you're married.
And stats actually back this up. Statistics show that those that live together before marriage have a 48% higher divorce rate than those that don't. So marriage matters. Here's Jesus putting a stamp of approval on marriage between a man and a woman.
Not a man and a man, not a woman and a woman. This is the only union He will bless. So He's present. And now He's going to do His first miracle. And what is that first miracle going to be? Yeah, I'm going to turn water into wine. If I was the PR person for Jesus, I'm going to push back on this.
Wait, what? You're God in human form, right? Yes, I am, you might say. Which means you can do anything, right? Could you raise a person from the dead? Well, we need a dead person to start, but yes, I could. Could you restore sight to the blind?
Yes. Heal someone who's deaf? I could do that. Restore the ability to walk to a person who's disabled?
Yes, I could do that. So your first miracle to prove you're the Messiah, your first sign, if you will, is to provide refreshments at a wedding? Exactly.
Why? Very simple. The first miracle of Jesus was done to simply bring joy to people. I want to bring joy. I want to bring happiness.
I want to bring a blessing to the people here. But it shows something else of significance to us as well. It shows His power.
Jesus could do what He wanted to do when He wanted to do it. And at this moment, He's showing I can meet the needs of man. I can meet whatever need you have.
And this is true for you and me too. What are you facing? Are you facing a crisis? Are you facing a financial need?
Are you facing some other health issue? And you say, I don't know what to do. God can meet that need because He's the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Right? We just have to call out to Him. And what's also interesting about this first miracle is it not only impressed the people that were there, but it really impacted His followers. Look at John 2, verse 11.
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him. Now this does not mean His disciples did not believe prior to this. What this does mean is their faith got deeper.
Wow. This impresses us. It showed them it was true. And you know, as His followers, we believe and we keep believing. Why was the Gospel of John written? John tells us these words were written that you might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and by believing you might have life in His name. So all of these signs, seven of them, are assembled together to convince you that Jesus is the Lord.
Jesus is the Messiah. And so sometimes we need to grow in our belief because that phrase, they're written so you might believe, could be translated so your faith might continue to grow. And we have doubts. Have you ever had a doubt? Of course you have. And so we have those moments and God will do things in our life to remind us of how powerful He is.
So listen to this. Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts. So this one really moved His disciples. So Mary, the mother of our Lord, wants to say something. She sees this as an opportunity for Jesus to prove Himself. And so she says to Jesus, they have no more wine. Do something, Jesus. And He gives her a rather unexpected response. Look at verse four. Dear woman, that's not our problem. My time has not yet come.
Wait, what? Dear woman? It's a very formal term. Instead of saying mom or mother, or in the Hebrew they would call their mothers Ima and their fathers Abba. And when you go to Israel today, you'll see the little Jewish children call mom Ima, dad is Abba. He could have said Ima. Instead he uses a formal term, almost like ma'am or dear lady. Dear lady?
Almost distancing himself a little bit. It's sort of a gentle rebuke. You say, mother, listen, I got this under control, okay? And let me just take care of it.
You stay in your lane and I'll stay in mine, okay? And he gives a reason, because my hour has not yet come. That's an interesting phrase that is used seven times in the Gospel of John. My hour has not yet come.
The first time he uses it is right here. Later in John seven, verse 30, we read they sought to take him but no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come. But then later on in John 17, when the Lord prays this powerful prayer that I think is the true Lord's prayer because it's a prayer only Christ could pray, he says, father, the hour has come, glorify your son so your son may also glorify you. What is the hour Jesus was talking about?
The hour of his betrayal, the hour of his crucifixion, the hour, if you will, in all of the sin of the world would be poured upon him, the hour when he would rise from the dead, the hour when his ministry would be completed. There are times we're like married. Lord, do something now. Right now, do it for us. We see things happening in the world that are so wrong. Oh, how can they get away with that?
How could that be allowed to happen? Do something now. Someone attacks you. They say unkind things about you.
They lie about you. Jesus, do something now. Effectively, he was saying to Mary, Mary, there's a time and a place, and he says the same to you. Just relax.
Hold on. Your problem will ultimately be solved. Your provision will ultimately come. And I love Mary's response, verse five. She told the servants, whatever he tells you to do, do it. By the way, those are the last recorded words of Mary. Now we come to the miracle itself.
And the way it is done is important. Look at verse seven. Jesus told the servants, fill the jars with water, and when the jars had been filled, he said, now dip some out and take it. By the way, this took a while. Because they didn't have a faucet.
They didn't have to put the jar into the faucet and turn it on. They have to go out to the well, dip their bucket in the well, fill it, bring it back, pour it into the water pot, go out, do it again, do it again, do it again. This took a long time. It was hard work.
They were sure big water pots as well. And I love how he doesn't tell them what's gonna happen. He doesn't say, and when you do it, the water will turn to wine.
He says, just go do this. And I said, why? This makes no sense. And to the point, could he not have just spoken a word?
And the water would have turned to wine. Why do we have to go do all this extra work? Because he wanted to involve them in the process. I don't know why God uses me. I don't know why God uses you. If I were God, I would probably do it differently.
I'd just roll the heavens away and poke my face through and say, hello, earth. I'm God, and you're not. Why don't you all believe in me now? Or I might send an army of powerful angels to deliver my message. But instead, God in His wisdom chooses to use broken, flawed, sinful people like you and me.
Well, I'm thankful I can be a part of the process. Because the Lord can convert anyone, but He chooses to reach people through people. The scripture says, how will they believe unless they are sent?
How beautiful are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things. God wants to use you. And boy, I tell you what, coming back to what I said earlier, this film, Jesus Revolution, what a great way to start a conversation. You walk up to someone you don't know and say, have you heard about this new film, Jesus Revolution? I have or I haven't. Google it.
It'll pop up. Watch the trailer. Hey, would you like to go see it? Or maybe you say, you should go see it.
But it's a great way to start the conversation. And God wants to use us in that. So these people, as an act of obedience and faith, do what He says. Faith, it's walking into uncertainty.
You don't always know. But faith is not just intellectual assent. It's action. Hebrews 11 one defines faith as follows. Faith is a substance of things hoped for. It's the evidence of things not seen. Faith is the means by which the infirmity of man takes hold of the infinity of God.
Let me say that again. Faith is the means by which the infirmity, that is the weakness of man, takes hold of the infinity of God. And faith doesn't have a back door. And I have found in my life that God has always led me one step at a time. I've never had a blueprint. Here's a blueprint of your whole life, Craig.
Here's everything that's gonna happen. No, it's just one step at a time. A door opens here, an opportunity there, a setback over in this other place, a really hard time of trial here, a great blessing here, another opportunity, all kinds of twists and turns. Haven't you found that to be true? So you just obey. God tells you to fill a water pot, fill a water pot. If he tells you to bring your loaves and fishes, bring them and distribute them. He'll take care of it.
He'll step in. And of course, now the water becomes wine. And the host, notice, he doesn't know where this wine came from. He doesn't know water was just turned into wine.
He goes, hey, this is crazy because normally they serve the good wine up front and the cheap stuff at the end and you're doing the reverse. You've saved the best to last. And in the same way, God saves his best wine, if you will, for last. So I became a Christian at age 17 and I gave up a few things.
Did I miss anything? Yeah, I gave up some friends, so-called. I gave up some parties, I gave up some experiences, things that other of my generation were involved in. Now you fast forward over 50 years and I look back at the choices they made and I look at the choice that I made and I know I made the right choice because for the Christian, it just gets better and better, okay? So that's something to keep in mind. I didn't say it gets easier or less complicated or less pressured or more trouble-free, but it's definitely better, sweeter, richer, deeper and more satisfying. Every day of walking with Jesus gets better. Now someone might say, well, Greg, that's a good message. Why don't you preach that to really old people?
Well, I will, but I think young people need to listen to it as well because you decide the evening of your life by the morning of your life. You decide the end at the beginning. So you decide here where you're gonna be when you're way over here.
Decisions you make each and every day, but you will find walking with Jesus just gets better and better. This is certainly true of marriage. Every marriage will go through its times of trial, and I hear couples say, well, we can't be together anymore because of irreconcilable differences.
Can I just say to you, shut up? Really? Every marriage has irreconcilable differences? You put two people together, and often opposites attract, right? And all those things that were so endearing and attractive when you first met your mate-to-be now are irritants.
Oh, he's always too late, or she's always too early, or probably the reverse of that realistically, but whatever. Or he's this way, and she's that way, and now we just can't be together anymore, irreconcilable differences. As I've said before, my wife Kathy and I have had irreconcilable differences for 50 years.
Okay, but is it really irreconcilable? Hang in there because the best is yet to come. A study was done in couples who were having conflict but decided to stay together.
Two-thirds of the unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy five years later. Here's what you need to do. Invite Jesus Christ into your marriage, just like they invited Jesus into their wedding.
Invite him in. Lord, we need your help. Lord, we're not gonna make it without you.
Come into our marriage and do what the Bible says, and you will have a blessed life together. Jesus saves the best for last. So a couple of closing thoughts. Number one, the best is yet to come in this life. The best is yet to come in this life.
The Christian life is the best life. It is. Amen? Amen. Okay. It gets quiet. I don't know.
Sometimes. It's the best life. Jesus said in John 10, 10, I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly. So whatever you're going through, and some of you are going through something hard right now, a hardship, how am I gonna get through this? You're gonna get through it.
Whatever trouble you're facing, it will get better, and you're becoming more like Jesus every day. That doesn't mean you won't have setbacks. It doesn't mean you won't have health problems. It doesn't mean you won't have aches and pains, but we know there's more to life than this body. We know there's life on the other side when we enter into God's presence, and number one, the best is yet to come in this life, but the best is yet to come in the afterlife. This is the hope of the Christian. We know there's an afterlife, but those that think of the most of the next life have a much better version of this life because they realize what I do has eternal ramifications, the right decisions I make as well as the wrong decisions that I make. I know heaven is waiting for me because I've trusted in Christ, and we know that one day I'll be with Him. See, for a Christian, the best is yet to come, but for the non-believer, the worst is yet to come. Listen to this. For the believer, this life is as bad as it gets. For the non-believer, this life is as good as it gets.
Okay? So, you know, Satan, he puts the good wine up front. Then he takes that out on you later. Oh, it's so exciting when you're young, and you're facing the same temptations every generation before you has faced, but here it is, man. Don't live by the rules. Don't do what the Bible says. Go chase after your impulses and desires and do what you want with whoever you want to do it with and try this drug and drink that and have sex with this other person and chase after this other thing.
You're gonna love it. And there is, if we're honest, a certain excitement in euphoria the first time you do something you should not do. But then there are the consequences of it later. The Bible says sin is pleasurable for a season, but afterwards comes death. So there's initial pleasure. Then the guilt kicks in. Then the repercussions kick in. You know, it's been proven that people that try a drug for the first time and eat things from marijuana to cocaine to heroin even the first time.
Oh, it was so amazing. And then they spend the rest of their life chasing the first high because now it doesn't get you high like it used to. Now there's complications. Now there's problems. Look at the effect that meth takes on a person physically, not to even mention spiritually.
Look at the effect that alcohol takes on a person physically. My mother was a beautiful woman. That's why I'm so handsome. That wasn't a joke. I was hoping for some applause and you'd laugh at my face. No. Yes, it was a joke and that's why you laughed.
I meant it as a joke. But she was a beautiful woman. Gorgeous. Looked like Marilyn Monroe. She was a man magnet. And she was raised in a Christian home, my grandparents that we called Mama Stella and Daddy Charles. They raised her in a Southern Baptist church. They went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night.
They had missionaries over for lunch in the afternoon and then they would go to a midweek service. So my mom knew all about church. My mother had a drug problem early on. They drug her to this church meeting and drug her to that church meeting.
Oh. So my mom said, I'm outta here. And she ran away from home when she was a young girl and eloped with some guy. She divorced him. Married another guy, divorced him. Had a fling with some dude in Long Beach. Got pregnant.
Ta-da. Greg was conceived. She went on with her wild life. Married and divorced seven different men. Had a lot of boyfriends in between.
Drank every night to excess. And that beauty began to fade. And the effects of her choices kicked in. She did have a horrible automobile accident and had a head-on collision with someone when she was driving drunk. It's amazing she even survived it.
And when my mother was 70, she looked like she was 90. Sad, but God loved my mother and he extended his hand of forgiveness. And I'm thankful to say, toward the end of her life, she committed her life to Jesus Christ.
So thankful for that. But I wish it had happened earlier. I wish we could have had years together with her following the Lord as I was following him, but that was not to be. But thankfully, she did come around in the end. But hey, the effects of sin and bad choices took their toll, and they always will.
There are no exceptions. So the devil comes, he offers his good wine, if you will, up front, and then you pay the price for it. God says, ah, for you, the Christian, the best is yet to come.
Just keep following me and trusting me, and you will see. Why was Jesus at this wedding? Because he was invited.
Isn't that amazing? They invited Jesus. Hey, would you like to come to our wedding?
Yeah, I'd love to. And there he was. And in the same way, Jesus stands at the door of your life and he knocks. He says, I would love to come into your life. I would love to reveal to you my plan for you, by the way, which is much better than your plan for yourself. I love you like no one loves you. I know you like no one knows you. I care about you.
I want to bless you. Why don't you let me into your life? But you have a choice here. I don't have to let them in. They didn't have to invite them to the wedding. And you don't have to invite them into your life.
But listen to this. To not say yes to Jesus is to say no. If he's standing at the door and knocking, you either let him in or you don't let him in. I mean, let's just say after church today, you go home and you're having lunch and there's a knock at your door.
Isn't that great? Knocking at the door. I'm like, hi.
Because you have a window and you're waving hi. You're at your table. Just ignore him. He'll go away. He says, he just wants free food.
He's always talking about food. You go back to eating and I'm standing here. Hi. Knocking at the door again. Can I come in? I'm even saying, can I come in?
Don't talk to him. After a while, maybe two hours, I'll get the hint. I don't think they want me in their house.
And I'll walk away. You see, you rejected me. Well, it wasn't a rejection. When I know you're home and I'm knocking and you don't answer it, that's called a rejection.
Right? Jesus says you're for me or against me. So Jesus is knocking. And we say, well, I'll ignore him. Maybe I'll get to this later. I'll get to it when I'm a little older, in my 30s. I'll get to it when I'm even older than that, 40s.
I'll get to it when I'm really old, elderly, 50. But you just expect he's gonna stand there and knock forever. And in a sense, he will.
The issue is not will Jesus knock. The question is, will your heart be so hardened that you won't hear him anymore? The Bible says, harden not your heart if you can hear his voice. Listen, God will forgive you up to your last moment on earth.
That's how good he is. But the problem with rejecting him is your heart gets so hardened you won't want his forgiveness. That's why the Bible says today is the day of salvation. This is your moment. And I'm gonna close with a prayer. And I'm going to extend an invitation to anyone that has joined us or is watching.
They're at Harvest Riverside watching online. If you're not sure if Christ is living in your life, if you're not sure you'll go to heaven when you die, this is your opportunity to respond. Like that story I told earlier about that man who was in the theater and the Christian asked him, have you accepted Christ yet? And he said, no. Why, I don't know.
Well, why haven't you done it? What are you waiting for? He'll come into your life right now and forgive you of all of your sin. If you need him in your life, if you want him in your life, respond to this invitation as we close in prayer. Let's all pray. Father, thank you for your word to us.
Thank you for your promise of forgiveness. And now we pray for any person here that does not yet know you. I pray your Holy Spirit will show them their need for you and that they would come to you now.
Well, our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying. How many of you would say today, Greg, I need Jesus. I want my sin forgiven. I do want to find the meaning of life now.
I do want the hope of heaven later. Pray for me. Listen, if you want Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sin, if you want to know that you will go to heaven when you die, if you want to find the meaning and purpose of life, if you're ready to say yes to Jesus, wherever you are, I want you to lift your hand up and I'm gonna pray for you. Lift your hand up and I'll pray for you right here. God bless you.
Raise your hand. Let me pray for you today. God bless you.
Anybody else? God bless you. Raise your hand up high where I can see it, please. Say, I want Jesus today. Let me pray for you. God bless you. You guys watching online or watching a screen, I can't see you, of course, but the Lord sees you.
You can take that little step of faith and say, yeah, I want him. For all of you that have raised your hand, I want you to pray this prayer after me. In fact, here's what I would like us all to do. Why don't we all pray this prayer, even though many of us have prayed it or a version of it before, and pray with these that are praying it for the first time. So pray this out loud after me, all of us together. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now. I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord, as my God and friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-02 05:34:32 / 2023-03-02 05:54:21 / 20