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Time to Clean House! | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 5, 2023 2:12 pm

Time to Clean House! | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 5, 2023 2:12 pm

In this Sunday message, Pastor Greg Laurie continues our 7 Signs of Jesus series with a particularly powerful story—the “cleansing of the temple.” Discover what makes God angry in this message from John 2!

Notes

“The Christian life is like a greased pole; you are either climbing or slipping.” —Unknown

Goliath was not always a giant.

The little things that we nurture can become big things; in other words, little liberties can turn into big vices.

“Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a destiny.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask for forgiveness regularly. 

Jesus’ first miracle: Water into wine.

Jesus answers our prayers, does what we ask, and comes through for us; but then there are times He comes and cleans house and overturns tables.

1. There are things that make God angry.

2. God cares about His house.

If you come to Jesus, He will accept you as you are, but He will not leave you that way.

Saul of Tarsus was a murderer, but he became a mighty apostle.

“Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” —Psalm 97:10

Sometimes we get angry with sinners when we need to be angry with Satan.

What angered Jesus?

People being kept from God.

3. God gets angry when people are kept from coming to Him.

The church exists to glorify God, edify the saints, and evangelize to the world.

“The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” —Abigail Van Buren

4. What does Jesus cleansing the Temple have to do with me?

As part of the new covenant, God now lives in the hearts of His people.

Paul prayed that “Christ would dwell in our hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17).

Dwell means, “To settle down and be at home.”

The dwelling place of God (the Temple of God) is you!

Perhaps you have sins that have not been confessed, and vices that have not been confronted.

Jesus wants access to every room of your house!

Jesus wants access to every room to clean properly.

Jesus may overturn a table or two, but when it is done, it will be clean!

Revival is returning to original condition.

5. Jesus knows everything about you.

6. Jesus will always reveal Himself to the true seeker; but to the fickle, shallow, and insincere, nothing will happen.

Jesus Christ is ready to come clean up your life!

Scripture Referenced

2 Timothy 2:25–26

Revelation 21:3

John 14:23

1 Corinthians 6:19

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JESUS REVOLUTION is now in theaters! Get tickets: https://jesusrevolution.movie/

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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. Lord, we ask your blessing now as we open your word.

Speak to us as we learn more about the work you want to do in each of our hearts. So we ask this now in Jesus' name. Amen. You can all be seated.

Good morning. Welcome to Harvest Riverside, and it's great to see all of you. Just want to say that tonight, as it was already mentioned by Pastor Mike Emrin, we're having a night of worship. And we're going to have communion together, and we're going to have time to pray for people that need a healing touch from God.

And it's just going to be an amazing time here at Harvest OC, five o'clock. You guys on Riverside, come on down and see your sister campus. It'd be good for you to see what God's doing in Orange County. Then next week, here you can go up to Riverside and see what God's doing on the Riverside campus. And one day, maybe we can all go and see what God is doing on the Maui campus, right? That's nice. How many of you have been to our campus on Maui?

Harvest Kumalani, raise your hand. That's great. God's really working over there. Okay, and God is also working through the Jesus Revolution film, I have to tell you. It's been amazing. I have to say, I've never seen anything like this before in 50 years of ministry, and this has become an international news story. Everyone's talking about it, and here's just some of the headlines that have been posted out there. Jesus Revolution shocks Hollywood with packed theaters, number three finish, miraculous.

I like the choice of that word. Kelsey Grammer won't apologize for the difference that Jesus has made in his life. Another headline.

This is from the Daily Beast. This is not a Christian website, okay, for sure. Why Kelsey Grammer's Jesus Freaked Movie Made Film History. Little snarky, but good.

How about this one? Revival goes nationwide, hits theaters after Jesus Revolution film, as well as ORU Portland, Ohio State. So God's at work.

God's at work. So I was around for the last awakening, and I see very hopeful signs right now, all the things that God is doing. This film now is just getting launched, but it has already reached three million people, and it's just gonna grow, and when it hits streaming, it's gonna be insane how many people will potentially see this film, Jesus Revolution, and I just heard this only moments ago, and that is that now two film studios are getting behind this movie, Lionsgate produced it, but now Sony is going to join Lionsgate to get Jesus Revolution around the globe in the coming months, so it will be an international film.

It's already showing in Canada, so I guess that makes it technically international, but it will go to even other nations as well, and you know, it's just so exciting because to me, I see two things coming from this movie. Number one, I see Christians getting revived. I've heard this story over and over again, and people say it just moved my heart, and I made a recommitment to Christ, but also it's really exciting to see how people are coming to the Lord as well. I heard this one crazy story about someone that saw the film, accepted Christ, and they baptized them in a fountain in front of the movie theater. Are you kidding me? There's another little TikTok video that's been floating around of a bunch of people having a worship service in the theater after the film.

Here's someone wrote me this. I saw it Saturday night in Costa Mesa. The movie broke down about a half hour in. In the dark theater, some people started singing worship, and soon most joined in, and then a young girl popped up, faced the crowd, asked and needed prayer, and people said, I need this and need that for prayer, and then she asked if anyone would like to give their life to Christ. Some said yes, and this young girl was leading people to Jesus.

Wow, that's good. When have you ever heard a story like that? The projector breaks down, and people are ministering one to another.

Here's some more up on the screen, some other letters. My 10-year-old son said he imagined he was Pastor Greg Laurie as we're driving home. He wants to become a pastor like Greg. That night I found him in the closet on his knees saying he confessed his sins in view of his life, his view of life has changed, and he wants to have a more meaningful life in Jesus. Isn't that a sweet story?

I love that. I took my husband, who was Catholic, to see, and he loved it. I haven't been to Harvest Riverside in 20 years, but after seeing the movie, I knew it was time to go back, took my husband Sunday to Riverside. It's the first time we both prayed the prayer, accepting Jesus, and bought new Bibles.

We'll be there tomorrow morning bright and early. God is good. Isn't that great? So I never went to see with us to see my story as a troubled young teen. I came to Christ during the Jesus movement. Anyway, after the movie, I asked my neighbor if she had ever asked Christ to come into our life. She said no, I explained what it meant, and she was able to pray with her neighbor to accept Jesus. It's just amazing.

We hear so many stories like that, one after another. One person said, we rented two theaters for our church. We had 800 people show up, and 12 people gave their hearts to Jesus at the end of the film. So this is incredible.

Incredible. So let's just keep praying that God blesses it and keep bringing people to see it. And it seems like the movie does a lot of the heavy lifting, and you just need to follow up afterwards and say, would you like to accept Jesus Christ into your life? All right, well let's grab our Bibles. John chapter 2 is our text.

We're in a brand new series that's called The Seven Signs of Jesus. And the title of this message is Time to Clean House. All right, let's take a quick poll. How many of you are super neat, organized people? Raise your hand.

Super neat and organized. Okay. How many of you are messy people? Raise up your hand.

Wow. It's almost evenly split. How many of you who are messy and are neat, how many messy people are married to a neat person and vice versa? See, that's funny, isn't it?

And that's how it is in my home as well. My wife, Kathy, total slob. Why are you laughing?

Because that's not true. She's the opposite. She's very neat, very organized, always cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. And I am not that person. In fact, I think we all know what it's like if you're one of those messy people to have messes get so big that you just, I can't live in this space anymore.

Right? So finally I have to do something about it. Same is true of a car. You know when you get a car?

There's nothing like the new car smell. Ah, I love this. And you make a vow. I don't know who you make it to.

You just make it. I will wash this car every week. No, I'll wash it twice a week. No, I'm going to wash it every single day. There won't be a single dent in this car and no one will ever eat anything in this car.

Ever. Well, a little time passes. You get a dent here. You get a stain there. And instead of the new car smell, instead you have the In-N-Out Burger Chick-fil-A smell. And that burrito you lost a few months ago has reappeared. It climbed up into your child's car seat and buckled itself in, so it's getting scary.

So basically, you know, you let things go and you have the problems that develop. In the Jesus Revolution movie, it shows me driving around in a Corvair. And I did have a Corvair. Not a Corvette, a Corvair.

Where the engine is in the back. That car was breaking down a lot and I couldn't afford a new set of tires, so I had retreads. Do you know what retreads are?

I said this to someone the other day. They said, what's a retread? A retread is just a layer of rubber they put around a ball tire. And I take offense to the phrase ball tire.

I don't like it. And so you put this rubber, you glue it on, and I'd be driving down the 91 and the retread comes up. I have to pull over.

Stalled by the side of the road, changing my tire. Sometimes our lives can be that way. We said we would maintain our Christian life.

We said we would stay strong in our faith, but we've neglected it. And before you know it, you're on the side of the road. It's been said, the Christian life is like a grease pole.

You're either climbing or slipping. It comes down to this, the best defense is a good offense. Right, so instead of merely reacting, you should be acting aggressively in pursuit of your spiritual life. And always cleaning. Don't let this build up.

You have two choices in life. You can undertake the Greg way of cleaning or the Kathy way of cleaning. The Greg philosophy in cleaning is never due today, which you can put off until tomorrow. And if you don't know what to do with something, throw it in a random drawer. So I have drawers filled with stuff, just all kinds of stuff, pens and this and that, and I don't even know what's in it anymore and I don't even want to open it.

It frightens me a little bit. The Kathy way of cleaning is always clean. Always stay on top of it. There's dust on the floor. Greg sweeps it under a rug.

Kathy sweeps it properly. And I think the same is true of the Christian life. Always maintaining your relationship with God because you can wait until major problems develop as a result of neglect.

It might be a fascination that turns into a habit that then becomes an addiction and soon a little thing becomes a big thing. Suddenly that little problem is like a Goliath in your life. You know what I mean by Goliath? He was that giant of a man in the story of David. Nine feet six inches solid muscle taunting David and the rest of the people of Israel.

And we can have giants in our life like that that frighten us, that taunt us, that scare us. But you know Goliath wasn't always a giant. He was a little baby once. I bet he was a big baby, right? I bet no one wanted to change his diaper. Would you wanna? It's time to change Goliath's diaper.

I did that yesterday and it took hours. I don't wanna do it again. I was traumatized by it. And imagine him having a temper tantrum as a little toddler. But one day he grows into a giant of a man.

And our giants are problems so to speak. Start small but little things turn into big things. Little liberties turn into big vices.

And then one day they're a full grown giant. So what we need to do is ask God to cleanse us of our sin on a regular basis. Don't wait till it builds up to some giant problem or horrible mess. Every day it's maintenance in the Christian life. Jesus taught us in the Lord's Prayer to pray as follows. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.

Just as surely as you should pray on a daily basis for God's provision as in your daily bread, you should also pray on a daily basis for the forgiveness of God in your life. All right, well let's read now this story which was actually the second sign of Jesus as recorded in John chapter two, the cleansing of the temple. I'm reading from the New Living Translation starting in verse 13. It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices.

He also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. So Jesus made a whip. I love that, underline that. Jesus made a whip.

I almost gave that as the title of this message. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the temple. He drove out the sheep and the cattle, scattered the money changers' coins over the floor, and he turned over the tables.

Then going over to the people who sold doves, he told them get these things out of here, stop turning my father's house into a marketplace. Okay, we'll stop there. So this is sign number two. Seven signs in the Gospel of John. Sign number one, turning the water into wine. Sign number two, overturning the tables. If you were one of the disciples you might have said, Lord are you sure you want to make this your second sign?

Because the first one was really popular. I mean Jesus shows up at a wedding, he turns water into wine, everybody's happy, everyone's having a great time, they're all singing together. Jesus is just all right with me. Yeah, we like Jesus. Jesus is a good guy to have around. Maybe Lord your second sign could be healing a blind man, or the recovery of the ability to hear, or how about raising someone from the dead? Jesus says, I'm kind of thinking of going with this right up front.

And it was a radical thing. You know, to overturn tables, that's kind of a big deal. We've seen it in a million westerns, haven't we? The cowboys, the gamblers, sitting around the smoke-filled bar playing cards. Everybody lays their hand on the table, and one guy says to the other guy, I think you're cheating. And all of a sudden he turns the table over, and the cards go flying, and the money goes flying, and the piano player, the piano player always has a little derby hat on.

It's mandatory, if you're a piano player you wear the little derby hat, not a cowboy hat. And he always has the little garter thing on his sleeve, and he's playing ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding. And he stops, everyone stops and looks, and a fight breaks out.

It's a violent act to overturn a table. Money went flying. He did it to get their attention. Kind of reminds me of our own lives. You know, we invite Jesus to our table. We invite him into our life. He brings, as the Bible calls it, joy unspeakable and full of glory. He brings us a peace that passes human understanding.

It's fantastic. Suddenly for the first time, perhaps, we have hope, we have purpose. We say it's great to invite Jesus to your table until he turns it over. Because he might come and say, well there's some things in your life that need to change. This, you can't do this anymore. This is destroying you, it's destroying other people.

Why does he do this? He tears something down in order to build it back right. Jesus compared it to someone pruning. Pruning a fruit tree.

In John 15 two he says he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. So Jesus and his disciples are headed into Jerusalem. It's Passover time.

That was when friends and family would gather, kind of a happy time. Maybe a sense of joy in the air. And now all of a sudden Jesus is getting irritated. He's hot and bothered. He walks into the temple and what does he see?

He sees this outer area known as the Court of the Gentiles filled with all of these tables with these money changers. Now what is this all about? These are people that stepped in and said to you, you come in with your little lamb. It's all you could afford. It's unblemished.

It meets the criteria. The money changer says I'm sorry but this lamb does not pass muster. But we're having a deal on temple approved lambs that you can buy for a jacked up price and so you would pay it because you wanted to approach God. And in fact, even in the old covenant, before Christ came and died on the cross for our sins, establishing the new covenant, God welcomed non-Jews to believe. You could still believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So the Court of the Gentiles was for those folks but as they're trying to get in to approach God, they have this barrier put in front of them and this made Jesus angry.

Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe made this statement in a quote. You can tell a lot about a person by how they answer these three questions. What makes you laugh? What makes you weep? And what makes you angry?

Good question. What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? And what makes you angry? Jesus was clearly angry.

This is righteous indignation. Verse 15. Jesus made a whip. Wait a second.

Is this Indiana Jones or Jesus of Nazareth? Are you kidding me? A whip. What? A whip? Seriously?

Overturning tables? Is this necessary? Apparently so. It flies against the stereotypical false image of Jesus that we so often see in religious art where Jesus is scrawny, anemic, sometimes even feminine in appearance and we think this dude needs a sandwich, okay? Are you making fun of Jesus?

No, I'm making fun of a false religious portrayal of Jesus that is not biblical. The Jesus of the Bible, I think he was strong. I think he was a man's man.

If you would have met him as a guy, you'd say I admire that man. It takes strength to overturn a table. It takes strength to carry a 400-pound cross to the streets of Jerusalem after your back has been ripped open with a Roman whip. Jesus was strong, but he was meek. And there's a difference between being meek and weak. You know, sometimes someone is very weak.

They'll say, well, I'm just meek. No, you're actually weak. You're not meek.

You're weak. The word meek means power under constraint. It's someone who has the ability to do something but chooses not to, so Christ is meek. But in this particular instance, he's showing righteous indignation, bringing me to point number one if you're taking notes. There are things that make God angry. There are things that make God angry. This perverting of his purpose was something that clearly made Jesus angry. Listen, I don't know about you, but I wanna know what angers God. I wanna know what God loves as well as what he hates. In the book of Proverbs, the Lord says there are seven things I hate. It's good to know what those things are because you don't wanna do something that God hates and you don't want to make him angry. By the way, it takes time to make a whip.

You know, it took, I don't know, a couple of hours. So this is not an explosion of anger. This is not God losing his temper. Can you imagine if God just went on a temper tantrum, planets flying around, I'm mad. I want breakfast, you know, whatever makes someone angry. God's not like that.

When he's angry, it's for a reason. It's righteous indignation. You almost wonder if the disciples were a bit embarrassed, like, really, Lord, seriously? You're doing this?

Yes, I'm doing this. But then they remembered Psalm 69 verse 17 of John 2. His disciples remembered it was written, zeal for your house will consume me.

That brings me to point number two. God cares about his house. God cares about his house.

He likes to maintain it and he likes to keep it clean and he will not tolerate evil. And so if you come to Jesus, he will accept you as you are, but he does not want to leave you that way. Yes, Jesus was a friend of sinners. Yes, he welcomed tax collectors and thieves and prostitutes and other people like that, but he didn't leave them that way. Matthew was a tax collector. That meant that he worked for Rome.

He would have been hated by his fellow Jews because he, being a Jewish man, was perceived as a turncoat, a Benedict Arnold, if you will. And yet, Matthew hears Jesus say, follow me, and he gets up and leaves this table and follows Christ. And I think of all the disciples, he gave up the most materially because he had a very lucrative career.

But he was a tax collector. Then he became Matthew the apostle and also Matthew the author of a gospel. Saul of Tarsus was a murderer on his way to hunt down Christians, torture them, and put them to death. And he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and he was transformed from being Saul of Tarsus to being the apostle Paul and wrote so many of the great epistles.

And it just goes on and on. Yes, we serve a God of mercy, but he's also a God of majesty. And he doesn't want sin in his church and he doesn't want sin in our lives. And so he hates anything that opposes us. He loves us and because he loves us, he hates anything that would hurt us.

So we should love what God loves and we should also hate what God hates. I read this horrible CDC report that just came out about how sad so many young people are, especially young women. The report said, quote, teen girls are suffering from unprecedented sadness and confusion. A new report from the CDC says 80, excuse me, 57% of teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless and roughly 30% of them were suicidal. That makes me sad.

And you know what? It makes me mad. I'm not mad at the kids, but I'm mad at a culture that encourages behavior that will hurt these young people. I'm mad at a culture that has an agenda going down to the cartoons our kids watch that push values that are antithetical to what we believe as followers of Jesus Christ. I'm not mad at sinners, but I'm mad at the sin. And I think sometimes we get angry and strike out, I hate sinners. I hate liberals. I, hold on now, buckaroo.

Hold on. Love the sinner. Hate the sin. The Bible says you should love your enemies. And here's also what the Bible says. And it's a good reminder, 2 Timothy 2, 25. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change these people's hearts and they'll learn the truth and they'll come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap for they've been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

The enemy is the devil. The people who are serving the devil or are living in sin, they're the captives. They're the people in the prisons. News flash, you used to be one of them.

I used to be one of them. We lived in rebellion against God. So we need to love people and do something.

And this makes me mad enough to strike back. Yeah, how do we strike back? By preaching the gospel.

There's no more powerful tool that we have. Preaching the gospel. Don't curse the darkness, turn on the light. And what's exciting about this film is it's infiltrated culture.

It's in theaters, it's in unexpected places. Reaching unexpected people. And we should always be looking for ways to build a bridge, understanding that non-believer is held captive by their sin. The enemy is the devil and we want to help them come to know Christ.

Here's the problem with these money changers. Instead of praying for the people, they were praying on the people, right? They weren't praying for them. They weren't calling them to God. They were actually keeping them away from God.

Bringing me to point number three. God gets angry when people are kept from coming to him. God is angry when people are kept from coming to him. Oh, this can happen in the church as well. You know, a non-believer comes and joins us and they look a little different.

And we make a judgment on them by the way they dress or something about them. Oh, they're one of those, are they? Well, maybe they are, maybe they aren't, but they're loved by God. And aren't you glad they're here to hear the gospel? Why does the church exist? There's three reasons the church exists. The exaltation of God, the edification of the saints, and the evangelization of the world. So when we gather together as believers, we're here to glorify God. To lift up the name of the Lord. We do that in worship. But now we're here for the edification of the saints. Edification means to build up one another. So when we study the word of God, we're being edified or built up. But listen, we also are here for the evangelization of the world.

I'm glad when people who don't think like us or look like us or live like us come and join us because my prayer is they will become one of us through faith in Jesus Christ. Imagine being sick and going to the emergency room at the hospital. Saying, why are all these sick people here? This is gross.

Excuse me. It's a hospital. It's where you go when you're sick. So you can wait for five hours. And then pay for it for five years afterwards.

But no, you go to get better. That's what a hospital's for. That's what the church is for. We're here to bring people to God.

As they've said before, I don't know the original source on this, but it's a good line. The church should not be a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. That was really the brilliance of Pastor Chuck Smith.

Chuck left his comfort zone and opened his heart and opened the doors of his church to people that were not like him. Sometimes people say, well, who are the hippies of today? Well, they're probably hippies still.

I don't know. There are people that are still hippies. It wasn't about reaching hippies. It was about reaching young people.

It was really about reaching all people. But the last great awakening was awakening among younger people. And not everybody had long hair. There were older folks that were businessmen. There were little old ladies that were students. Some people were preppies. Some people were hippie.

It didn't really matter. It was just people coming to Christ. So what is it today? It's just reaching our culture.

It's finding ways to connect with them and communicate with them in a language they understand. So you might ask, what does Jesus cleansing the temple have to do with me right here, right now? Well, number one, the temple is not the church.

Or let me restate that. The church is not the temple. Sometimes we say the church is a sacred building. So when you walk in, don't speak loudly.

Whisper. We're in the church. Don't laugh. Don't laugh.

Come on. This is just a building. This is not the church. You're the church. I'm the church. Wherever we gather together, that's a church.

If we're in a stadium, if we're in a movie theater, if we're at a beach, wherever we are, worshiping God, honoring God, that's the church, right? But you, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Bible actually teaches this. Revelation 3.20, excuse me, First Corinthians 6.19, I meant to say, don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God. You're not your own.

You are bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body. Your body, my body, is the temple of the Spirit. And sometimes God wants to do a little temple cleansing. Sometimes the Lord will come into your heart and life and say, this needs to go. That needs to change.

This needs to be looked at in a new way. That sin needs to be confronted. That vice needs to be repented of. Even your mind needs to be clean. You need to have a mind that's in alignment with what God wants you to have.

And as scripture says, bringing every thought into the captivity of the obedience of Jesus Christ. Jesus wants the master key to every lock. He wants the password to everything so he can just have access.

See, my wife has all my passwords. And this sometimes is a bit of a problem, I have to say. Because sometimes I'm talking to somebody, you know, I'm thinking of getting this new part for my motorcycle. Yeah, I know where you can get that.

And then I come downstairs, Kathy says, what are you getting for your motorcycle now? How'd you know that? I'm just reading your text. Oh, great. But seriously, though, she can read and does read. She goes, I like to just know what you're up to and I find out so much by reading your text and your emails.

Great, she has that. And that's important in a marriage to have trust. Unless it's about motorcycle parts, you know, then it's, I don't know. But the point is, Jesus Christ may come into your heart and life and say, I want a clean house. There's a mess here. There's clutter there. There's an unconfessed sin over in this area.

Let me have access. And sometimes we're afraid. And my question to you is, why? Why?

Are you afraid he's gonna take away something you don't wanna let go of? Let me illustrate. Let's just say you're sitting at home and you get a knock on the door. You open it up and there stands Jesus.

Jesus Christ. Hi, I stand at the door and knock, he says. If you hear my voice and open the door, I'll come in. Jesus, I can't believe you're at my house. Come in. By the way, you don't look like Jonathan Rumi on The Chosen.

He's an actor, I'm actually Jesus. Yes, come in. Have a seat, Lord. Wow, good to have you here. You hungry?

Yeah. The Lord says, I'm hungry. Let me get you something. So you run in the kitchen.

You open up your fridge. What do I feed Jesus? I didn't know he was coming. I can't give him those deviled eggs.

It would just be inappropriate. The devil's food cake, that's out too. Angel food cake, maybe all of a sudden you hear a lot of noise in your front room.

What is going on? You walk out. Jesus has the front door of your house open and he just picked up your couch and threw it on the front lawn. Lord, I bought that at Sears. I can't get another one.

Sears isn't around anymore. He's taking your wall coverings down. He's throwing your macrame plant holders away. Lord, don't throw that away. He's ripping up your carpet, Lord. That's green shag. That's collectible now.

I bought it in the 70s. He's ripping it up. Everything goes out the front door and you're thinking, wait a second. I didn't sign up for this.

This doesn't make sense to me. I asked Jesus to come into my house and he throws everything away. He says, would you stand back for a moment?

Okay. He lets out a loud whistle. A big moving van backs up into your driveway. On the side of the moving van it says, Father and Son Moving Company. What else is there?

What is all this? Bring it in, boys. Brand new carpet is laid down. Boy, that's really nice. That's nice.

Puts up new wall covering. Oh, I like the combination. Are you a designer?

Jesus says, yeah. Pretty good at this. Just let me do my thing. New beautiful paintings. Photographs on your wall. New fixtures. Everything's updated. Everything's better. And suddenly it dawns on you.

Jesus only got rid of the old stuff to replace it with something far better. Right? So that's what it means. Thank you. Don't be afraid to give him the master key.

Don't be afraid to give him your password, if you will. Because he will clean house in the best way imaginable. You know, and we need periodic house cleanings.

By the way, did you know this? Jesus cleansed the temple not once, but twice. Some people are confused because they read about it two times in the Bible.

One time he has a whip, the other time he doesn't. Well, that's because he did it two times. He cleansed the temple when he started his ministry and again he cleansed the temple when he was bringing his earthly ministry to a close, you see. And why did he have to cleanse it twice? Because it got cluttered again.

Probably started with one guy set his table up. Another guy shows up, someone else shows up, and pretty soon all the junk is back. Maybe it's even worse than it was before. And can that not happen in our life as a Christian? You know, we come to Jesus, we repent of all these sins, this lifestyle is gone, everything's fresh and new.

But then we make a little compromise here and lower the guard over there, and next thing you know all the stuff has come back and maybe it's even worse than it used to be before. It's time for another house cleaning. It's time for the Lord to come and say, let's deal with those things. We need to be constantly cleansed in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

One final movement to this story and I find it really interesting. Look at John 2 verse 23. I'm reading now from the New King James Version. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover during the feast, many believed in his name. Underline that phrase, many believed in his name. When they saw the signs, which he did, but Jesus did not commit himself to them, underline that too, because he knew all men and had no need that anyone should testify of men for he knew what was in man. Wow, many believed in his name when they saw the signs he did. What signs did they see?

At this point, water being turned to wine. They had seen him cleanse the temple. These were significant signs. They were very impressed and they believed, right? Well, maybe not because it says Jesus did not commit himself to them. See, here's the thing with Jesus. He knew all things. So you might almost translate this verse. They believed in him, but he didn't believe in them or they trusted in him, but he didn't trust in them.

Why? Because he knows all things. You say, but wait, I thought God welcomed all people. Doesn't want everyone, God want everyone to believe? Yes, if they come with the right motives, but these people saw the signs, but the problem was their faith was superficial and it was hollow and he could look right through them. He was always looking through people. In fact, when Jesus called Matthew, I mentioned Matthew earlier. He says to Matthew, follow me, that verse says he looked at Matthew and that phrase looked at could be translated he looked right through Matthew. Looked right through him. Have you ever had anyone look right through you?

Let me restate the question. Do you have a mother? Maybe when you were a teenager, you were on a little bit late and your mother says, where have you been?

Nowhere, mom. Look at me, she says. And you just started confessing everything. You confess things you didn't even do, right? Jesus could look right through people. He knew the back story. He knew the thoughts.

He would call people out periodically. Why are you thinking this in your heart? How do you know that? Because he was God. He was omniscient and he knew all things and he saw that these people who thought they believed in him really did not at all. Bringing me to my next point. Jesus knows everything about you.

Let me add one thing to that. Jesus knows everything about you but yet he still loves you. No one knows how dark your heart is except you. No one knows how dark my heart is except me. The Bible says the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things who can know it. That's why we shouldn't walk around saying, I'm just trusting my heart. The heart wants what it wants. Yeah, don't trust your heart. Your heart can get you into trouble, you see. So God sees through you but yet he loves you because even though you're a sinner, he also knows if you're a seeker and those that seek him will find him.

And here's a great illustration. So John 2 ends with many believed but Jesus did not commit himself to them but then John 3 opens with the words, now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus and then it goes on to tell the story of Jesus and Nicodemus, that religious leader who wanted to know Jesus who ended up becoming a believer. So these people didn't really believe and so he didn't commit himself to them but then there's this guy named Nicodemus that showed up and he did believe and Jesus revealed himself to him. God will reveal himself to any true seeker.

That's my last point. Jesus will always reveal himself to the true seeker and sometimes they'll say, you know what, prove it to me. Show me and I'll believe and effectively Jesus would say, believe and I'll show you. Come with as much faith as you have and let me change your life. Maybe you've tried to clean up your life. You've thought, you know what, my life's a mess and I'm gonna become a Christian. I'm in the process of converting. I'm gonna cuss a little bit less, be a little less angry, do a little less of that.

Yeah but that's not conversion. See you don't clean up your life and come to Christ. You come to Christ and he'll clean your life up. Have you ever had a really stubborn stain in a shirt or a blouse? You tried to get it out, nothing worked. What do you need to do? You need to take it to a professional, take it to the cleaners, right? And sometimes there are things in our life we just can't fix and we say, Lord, help me. Only you can clean this. Only you can change that.

Only you can work in my life supernaturally and I'm asking you to do it and we're gonna close in a moment asking God to help because there are some people here that are struggling in life. Maybe you're struggling with some kind of an addiction. An addiction to drugs, an addiction to alcohol, an addiction to pornography, an addiction to something else.

Gambling, I don't know what it is but it's something that's got a hold of you and you can't break hold of it and there's others here that are saying I've done these things I'm so ashamed of and I don't think I can ever be free of the guilt I carry because of what I've done. God can change the whole narrative for you right now but you need to say, Lord, clean house. You have to invite him. He won't force his way in. You have to say, Lord, clean me, cleanse me, fill me, use me, change me.

I give you permission. I want you to come and do this for me but before we pray about that together, I wanna just close with this thought which is simply if you've joined us today and you are not yet a Christian and by a Christian, I mean someone who has Christ living inside of them. You might say, well, I think I'm a Christian. Hey, if you're a Christian, you'll know. If God Almighty has taken residence in your heart, you'll know he's there and if you don't know he's there, maybe he isn't but he can be. Going back to that verse I quoted earlier, Jesus says, behold, I stand at the door and I knock and if you'll hear my voice and open the door, I will come in. Only you can open the door of your life to Jesus. He won't force his way in. He won't kick the door in. He could if he wanted to but he won't. He wants you to want him.

Do you want him? Do you want his forgiveness? I mentioned this peace that God can give. I mentioned this joy that Christians experience. I touched on the hope that we have as followers of Christ. He can give you all of this and more and the certainty that when you die, you will go to heaven.

It's really up to you. Only you can open that door. I would like to extend an invitation to anyone here who is not sure if Christ is living in them to invite him in.

Let's all bow our heads. Father, thank you for your word to us. Thank you for your love for us and now we pray for any here that have joined us or are watching who do not yet know you. Help them to see their need for you.

Help them to come to you and find your forgiveness. Now we ask. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying, there's someone here that wants Jesus. You want your sin forgiven. You want a second chance in life. You want to know you'll go to heaven when you die.

You want to fill that big hole in your heart you've tried to fill with so many things and it's not worked. Jesus is ready to come into your heart and forgive you but you must ask him in. Listen, if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want to go to heaven when you die, if you want your sin forgiven, you want this relationship with the Lord, wherever you are, I want you to lift your hand up right now and I'm gonna pray for you.

Lift your hand up high where I can see it. God bless you and you. God bless you. Let me pray for you right now.

You want Christ in your life. God bless you and you. Anybody else, raise your hand up. I want to pray for you now. God bless you and you. All of you that have raised your hand, I see you all over the room.

God bless you. Now some of you are watching there at Harvest Riverside. You can raise your hand.

Some of you are watching in an overflow room here at Harvest OC. You can raise your hand. Wherever you are, take that little step of faith saying I need you right now, Jesus.

Raise your hand and I'll pray for you. All right, now I want every one of you that has raised your hand to stand to your feet and I'm gonna lead you in a prayer of asking Christ into your life. Stand to your feet.

If you raised your hand, even if you did not, but you want Jesus to come into your life, stand up right now and we're gonna pray together. Stand up. You won't regret this.

You won't regret this. God bless all of you that are standing. Anybody else, stand now. If you're watching this screen, you stand up too because this is a commitment you're making to Christ, not to me or anybody else. Stand up.

I'll wait one more moment. You want this relationship with God. You're ready to say yes to Jesus. Stand up. God bless all of you that are standing. You that are standing, I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Again, as I pray, pray this out loud right where you stand.

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 my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and entering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. God bless all of you. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-06 04:22:25 / 2023-03-06 04:41:52 / 19

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